The power of their words to see the world

“Being an English major taught me how to choose my words, learn to know which words to use and which words will make a more empathetic listener. That skill was something I needed.”

Ky Core took the freedom of a liberal arts education seriously, taking courses in psychology, Spanish, math, biology and chemistry before ultimately deciding to become an English major.

“I decided I was going into medicine, but I didn’t think I had to major in something science-y,” they said. “I could major in something that challenged me intellectually in a different way, and I thought that the best way would be through an English major.”

Core is dyslexic but has always had a love for reading and writing. Although they admit they still struggle with the condition, they credit the English department for being nurturing in the way it develops student learning.

“I thought it would be more like novels and poetry, but I didn’t realize English could also be learning about the power you have with your words in terms of how you see the world,” they said. “Being an English major taught me how to choose my words, learn to know which words to use and which words will make a more empathetic listener. That skill was something I needed.”

Core credits Professor Kristen Maye’s course on Black social thought for inspiring her to write a thesis on the ideas of what makes a good or bad Black mother and how those concepts are rooted in anti-Blackness.

With the goal of becoming a gynecologist and certified doula, Core became a biology minor mainly to gain the ability to take Pregnancy and the Placenta, which is a 300-level biology course.

“I’d like to be a gynecologist that practices in Philadelphia because that’s where I’m from. Seeing how important community comfort and wellness is has made me realize that my community needs me,” they said.

Alongside their academics, being an advocate and creating ways to bring community connections has been at the cornerstone of Core’s experience at the College. As a certified facilitator for Intergroup Dialogue, they specialize in building conversations around race, socioeconomic status, gender and conflicts in one’s own identity, helping individuals find common humanity despite their differences.

While working as a resident advisor at the College, Core became certified in Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) after completing a course and assignment from the Office of Residential Life.

As a QPR-certified RA, they assisted students struggling with suicidal ideation by asking questions, having dialogues around suicidality and helping students access the resources they need. Providing students with support during their most critical times of need has helped Core continue their purpose of building community. They regard becoming QPR certified one of the best decisions they have made.

Core was a member of a few Living-Learning Communities during their Mount Holyoke journey, including the Mary Woolley Living-Learning Community, which is designed to support students exploring and expressing their whole selves in a safe and affirming environment. For Mary Woolley, they helped facilitate events such as painting what your gender looks like to provide a space where people could foster a community of queerness and unpack what queerness represents in the different facets of their lives.

All the roles Core served at Mount Holyoke helped strengthen their belief in the need for community.

“After COVID-19, I saw a different community than the one I first toured. I saw people wanting to connect but couldn’t, which created a lot of intense feelings of isolation,” they said. “It really struck me to the point that it caused me to reach out to people more and lead by pulling people in.”

Two of Core’s most impactful experiences while attending the College, which also helped shape their goals postgraduation, were courtesy of two internships at the University of Pennsylvania. The first internship involved making a high school curriculum centered around community wellness. The second was Lynk funded and involved a research project where they interviewed individuals on their gender experiences related to the healthcare industry.

“I heard the most beautiful stories and some heartbreaking stories about how the healthcare industry has failed or benefited some people and how the system isn’t working for everyone,” they said. “Which is why we need community wellness factors like gardens, herbalists and organizations that aid a community. And I wouldn’t have learned all that had it not been for Lynk funding.”

Core plans to attend Thomas Jefferson University to complete their pre-medical requisites before heading to medical school in Philadelphia.

“I was going to go abroad and live a good life, but then I realized I need to go back,” they said. “I’m going to study in Philadelphia and take all the stories that I heard throughout the second internship as cautionary tales and try to build up the community as best as I can.”

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