Melissa Danz ’17

Melissa Danz ’17

Name: Melissa Danz ’17

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Major: philosophy and religion double major

Campus involvement: I am a MoZone peer educator, a co-chair of the Philosophy Society, a student liaison for both the philosophy and religion departments and a Posse scholar.

Proudest accomplishment at MHC: I am most proud of the growth I have experienced here. My first-year self would probably not recognize my current self — neither physically nor mentally. My experiences at Mount Holyoke have allowed me to take risks and make bold changes that I may not have been comfortable  making elsewhere. I have become unapologetically Mel — I am quirky and silly, but also serious about my passions and dedicated to my goals.

Favorite course you thought you might not like: Sam Mitchell, who is now my thesis advisor, somehow convinced me that taking symbolic logic would be a good idea for my ideal career in philosophy. I knew it would be a challenge, since math isn’t a strong suit of mine. But I powered through and succeeded in the course. There is a very satisfying feeling that comes with the solution of a proof and an even more satisfying feeling that comes with doing something you previously thought you couldn’t and proving yourself wrong.

Best takeaway from internship or research experiences: I went into the summer before my senior year thinking I would absolutely love my internship. I was going to be in Washington, D.C., one of my favorite cities, doing research on the Salafi movement in Pakistan at a nonprofit that does conflict resolution. Fast forward to summer, I was not doing as much research as I thought I would be. However, this was a good lesson in patience, standing up for yourself and picking your battles. You must know when to speak up for yourself, when to sit back and when to say “I've had enough of this!”

Future plans: In June, I will be heading to Berkeley, Calif. I have a three-month fellowship to participate in a Jewish urban-farming program, where I will further explore my own spirituality and sustainable farming. In September I will head to Israel for a year to take classes and volunteer with a nonprofit that focuses on Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish-Arab coexistence. I am extremely passionate about the conflict happening in Israel/Palestine, but feel that to try to solve the problem from the U.S. is rather pointless. So I am going to learn more at the source. Then I'll be applying to doctoral programs in philosophy.