Mentoring others in speaking, arguing and writing

“Pre-Mount Holyoke Nina versus the postgrad version has grown so much because of this College’s supportive community where people truly want you to thrive.”

When Nina Fulmer’s time at Mount Holyoke began, she didn’t imagine she’d be ending with a job program offer from one of the largest financial advisory firms in the country. But that’s what’s happening. A total of 28 days after graduating from Mount Holyoke, she’ll move to Boston, Massachusetts, to start a two-year rotational program with Fidelity. Throughout her two-year stint, she’ll get to focus on different aspects of human resources, such as talent acquisition, payroll and benefits.

“I never thought of HR being something you could do with a psychology degree,” she said of the opportunity she’s going into. “But it makes sense. In HR you’re working with people whether it be through conflict resolution or just checking in, and psychology studies these social interactions with others in the world. I surprised myself, but I know my degree will help inform the work I do at Fidelity.”

As a first-year student, Fulmer had a keen interest in psychology, which she eventually declared as her major. She wanted to understand human behavior, and she especially wanted to learn about it at a liberal arts college where she believed professors weren’t focused on telling students what to think but how to think critically about a variety of topics while still holding space for empathy.

When she stepped on the Mount Holyoke campus for the first time, everything clicked for her. “I liked the small campus and community feel. When I visited the College for the first time, it felt like home,” she said.

Throughout the last four years, Fulmer has been chasing that feeling of home and instant connection — saying yes to classes, on-campus opportunities and internships that were outside her comfort zone. She felt she was able to pursue these opportunities because of the supportive campus culture.

As a first year, she was asked to be a mentor at the Speaking, Arguing, & Writing (SAW) Center. The center encourages students to work together on speaking confidently, mastering the skill of persuasive arguing and refining their writing skills. Accepted SAW mentors complete a semester-long course and training program before assisting other students. As a mentor, Fulmer worked with students whose second language was English, those with learning disabilities and others who were looking for critical feedback on their written work. By her senior year, Fulmer was invited to be a SAW liaison, which bridges the gap between the SAW program and the directors of the center.

“Three weeks into my first year, my professor, Michelle Markley, invited me to apply, even though I didn’t think I was qualified,” Fulmer said. “I chose to take a leap of faith, and I’m glad I did because it’s helped me become a better leader and has also improved my writing.”

Another place on campus that has given her a sense of community is her psychology and sociology classes. She’s especially appreciative of Professor Becky Wai-Ling Packard, whose classes were a balance of clinical research and real-world case studies and application when she wasn’t sure how she’d use a psychology degree. Fulmer took her first class with Packard during her spring semester of sophomore year, a time when most of her peers were declaring their majors and mapping out the first few years of their career. She worried she was behind, or not on the right path, but found comfort in Packard’s lessons and in her support as an advisor. It’s Packard’s mentorship and classroom support that helped her determine to pursue a career in HR.

“As a professor, she goes above and beyond for her students. You can tell she really puts her heart and soul into her classroom and students,” Fulmer said. “She’s been a huge help in guiding me towards my next steps. It’s helped me realize there is no one right path. I didn’t know what I was going to do, and it took me a little longer to find my groove, but once I settled in, it started to click, just like the first time I visited campus. Pre-Mount Holyoke Nina versus the postgrad version has grown so much because of this College’s supportive community where people truly want you to thrive.”

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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