Deborah Fashole-Luke ’18

Mount Holyoke has been a wonderful place to learn more about other cultures and get to know people from all over the world.

Name: Deborah Fashole-Luke ’18

Hometown:  Gaborone, Botswana

Academic focus: psychology major, English minor

Campus involvement: I work as a senior community advisor with the Office of Residential Life. My duties involve managing an amazing team of community advisors and providing them with whatever support or advice they may need in navigating their roles, as well as building a sense of community in the residence hall, and ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents in the building. I also have been a part of the International Student Organizing Committee (ISOC), which welcomes international students to campus, holds events to celebrate diverse cultures, and builds connections with other groups to foster relationships and partnerships with other student leaders and cultural organizations on campus. I am also the co-campus correspondent and co-editor-in-chief of Her Campus Mount Holyoke, an online magazine that caters to women’s experiences in colleges around the United States and in different parts of the world.

Proudest accomplishment at Mount Holyoke: Building up and running the Her Campus Mount Holyoke team with Lyssi Joseph ’18. We took over together as campus correspondents in our sophomore year with no knowledge or past experience with the organization and we built up a strong team of about 20 members. We quickly reached the highest chapter rank and have steadily been in the highest tier of all Her Campus chapters. Not only have we been incredibly successful in regards to our work with Her Campus Nationals, but we have created a loving and supportive team that so many of our members say has been a fundamental part of their college experience. That is incredibly amazing for me to know, that I could be a part of making other members feel at home or feel like they found a place for themselves where they can belong, grow both personally and in their writing skills, and make lasting connections.

How a close connection with a faculty member has shaped you: Many of my psychology professors have played a big role in shaping me, and I could really say something about them all. Most especially in my senior year though, Corey Flanders, assistant professor of psychology and education, has been one of the most influential professors in shaping and guiding me, especially in the process of writing a senior thesis. She has been incredible and extremely supportive, and yet challenges me to push myself even further to achieve more. She has been critical in my learning this year and in completing a substantial project and honors thesis. I am grateful for her support, her confidence in me and her guidance.

Favorite course you thought you might not like: I didn’t think I would like Research Methods in psychology since I did not hear a lot of good things about the class. However, it helped me realize that I love research and being able to work toward answering my own questions. I had a fabulous research group and we developed a comprehensive project by the end of the semester, which I was really proud of. I also had an amazing lab instructor, Nicole Gilbert Cote, who made it so much more enjoyable, and helped make the class more approachable for me since I had no prior experience at the time.

Best takeaway from internship or research experiences: Last summer I interned at the Emotion, Health and Psychophysiology Lab at University of California San Francisco. The internship gave me confidence in my abilities and showed me that my experiences and my education at Mount Holyoke have more than prepared me to tackle any challenge I encounter, or to adapt to any situation or role. Before interning at the lab, I knew next to nothing about psychophysiology and I was a little intimidated when I received the lab manual before arriving at the lab. My duties included applying sensors to people. I was driven to practice and be precise in my tasks, and after a few weeks of interning, it all became second-nature to me. I am proud of that. I learned to trust myself and my skills more, and understood that, as corny as it may sound, you can do anything you really put your mind to.

Favorite Five College experience: My favorite Five College class was on tourism in Africa called “Sun, Sand, Sex, and Saving Africa?”. It was taught by Rachel Engmann, a phenomenal Hampshire College professor. I loved the class environment she created that was very supportive but also held people accountable and broke down stereotypes or tropes about different African countries and peoples. It was an engaging class and it was really fun for me to talk about the tourism sector in Botswana a bit, since it represents a substantial part of our economy and growth. It was also interesting for me to be studying more about my different countries, and the continent in general, in the context of the United States, and to get a different perspective on how people navigate and think about tourism and travelling to the continent. It was also important learning more about the potential negative and positive effects of tourism and how to be a conscious, ethical and respectful tourist.

How Mount Holyoke has shaped your global outlook: Mount Holyoke has been a wonderful place to learn more about other cultures and get to know people from all over the world. I have learned a lot about many different places in the world, as well as formed relationships that will span across countries and continents. I can’t wait to see what all my fellow friends and classmate go on to do all across the globe!

Future plans: I am applying to research positions in psychology to gain some more experience, and then I plan to go to graduate school in pursuit of a more terminal degree.