Gaining confidence to pursue opportunities like learning a new language and doing an independent study

“I am glad Mount Holyoke has taught me to be more secure in taking risks, even if I don’t know the outcome. It is a lesson that I think will serve me well.”

A little support goes a long way.

For aspiring educator Ansley Keane, it made all the difference in the world when choosing a place that would become her home for four years.

“When I was making my decision, I knew I wanted to go to a college with a supportive environment,” said Keane. “It was incredibly important to me for there to be a sense of competition, but in a healthy way — a place where everyone personally strives for their ambitions and goals with an encouraging support system around them.”

It took only a short time for Mount Holyoke to show Keane how it checked that box perfectly.

From the first time she visited a class on a tour as a high school junior to settling into the flow of a full class schedule as a first-year student, Keane felt encouraged by the way both peers and professors made it a point to be helpful.

“It just seemed like everyone wanted each other to succeed. There was never hesitation to participate in class discussions for fear of asking the wrong question. Mount Holyoke has always had the feeling of being warm and collaborative.”

The confidence instilled in Keane early in her college experience pushed her to pursue learning opportunities outside her comfort zone. During her first year, Keane gave Italian “the old college try,” knowing she probably would not have another similar chance to learn a new language. Expecting to be one-and-done with the romance language, Keane found the Department of Classics and Italian so engaging in its teaching that she took a class as an elective for three years.

“Even though I didn’t end up becoming an Italian major or minor, I found that it was always something that I looked forward to,” Keane stated. “It made me happy.”

The passion pursuit rubbed off on other areas of Keane’s studies. A history major with a minor in education, the senior has been fulfilling both state and institutional requirements for becoming a licensed history teacher in secondary education. An immersive practicum is hard enough to balance, between the in-classroom student teaching and the graduation requirements for walking in May. Still, Keane leaned into yet another passion project.

During the spring 2021 semester, Keane used an independent study to discover an interest in inclusive curriculum building. During her endeavors as a budding teacher, Keane found multilingual students often needed help figuring out confusing curriculum. She spent much of that semester designing history curriculum pieces to be more accessible to and inclusive of students from all backgrounds as they pursue their educational opportunities.

That experience — which also helped Keane feel more connected during the weary moments of the pandemic isolation — gave her a sound foundation upon which she wants to teach history in her classroom moving forward.

“I want to make school and learning about history something all students can enjoy. Providing different strategies can be the difference in understanding for many students,” said Keane. “I don’t want to gloss over the difficult parts of history, and I also want to find the key connection points with my students to show how the subject can be relevant to their lives.”

Mount Holyoke provided Keane with four years of support and encouragement, and she feels more confident in her future than she ever could have imagined entering the gates for the first time.

“I am glad Mount Holyoke has taught me to be more secure in taking risks, even if I don’t know the outcome. It is a lesson that I think will serve me well.”

After Commencement, Keane will begin teaching history at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey in the fall while pursuing a Master of Science in Education of the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact us

The Office of Marketing and Communications spreads the word about Mount Holyoke College’s distinctive strengths and newsworthy accomplishments.

Christian Feuerstein
  • Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations