Transfer Focus: Key Estime ’19

Photo of Key Estime ’21

Previous college: Holyoke Community College

Hometown: Monterey, Massachusetts

Possible majors: anthropology, sociology; possible minor in entrepreneurship, organizations, and society 

Why MHC: I love MHC because it has a collectivist culture, as opposed to a more individualistic culture. There is a feeling of intense purpose and collaboration on the campus, and such an energy is extremely motivating. I have felt very supported as a first generation, low-income student — I have a lot of questions and concerns my family cannot answer. I found that I was not shunned or ignored when I had questions or needed to speak to a financial aid advisor or someone in admission about the transfer process. All of this flexibility and belief in my abilities truly fascinated me and created a feeling of commitment and dedication to the College. I visited the campus, attended some parties, hung out in the dorms with newfound friends, and spoke to some of my relations who had attended MHC. The choice to attend quickly became clear.

First impressions: As mentioned above, my first impressions were of true awesomeness.

Favorite places on campus and the Pioneer Valley: The Pioneer Valley is absolutely lit. It’s bumping with awesome things to do and many young people, and I love the Five College Consortium that allows me to incorporate multiple cultures into my education. I love the Mount Holyoke library, of course, with the beautiful glass sculpture in the atrium.

Noteworthy volunteer experiences: I’ve volunteered on two trips with Pure Water for the World, which installs bio-sand water filtration systems in developing countries. I went to Honduras in summer 2016, and Haiti in January 2017. I’ve also volunteered heavily for Railroad Street Youth Project, a youth empowerment organization in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. As part of the Youth Operational Board, I developed leadership skills and led the board in deciding which projects offered by the youth of Great Barrington and Sheffield would be funded and supported.

Career aspirations: I am a social entrepreneur with emotional intelligence who wants to communicate with the world my ideas, ambitions and innovations. I aspire to forever be a mentor and youth worker — I’ve been a youth worker since my freshman year of high school. I am going to be a job creator, meaning that I am developing crucial soft and hard skills in college that will be multi-purposeful and oriented toward opportunity.

Proudest moments: I am most proud of the RYSE program I have developed and coordinated with the support and resources of Railroad Street Youth Project. I was asked by a board member to develop a program to motivate students to prepare and maintain an interest in college. In the RYSE program, high school applicants are required to attend five sessions in a week-long summer-camp setting in order to be eligible for a scholarship. The program helps disadvantaged students prepare for their next step after high school, whether college, vocational school or a gap year. We provide a $200 stipend so students can take time off from work and they are eligible for scholarships up to $5,000.

I am also very proud to call myself a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar.

Where do you want to be in 10 years: I would love to be coordinating the programs of a youth organization that I would like to start in the Pioneer Valley. I would love to be economically comfortable and independent. My purpose is to advocate for young people (ages 11 – 25), and encourage self-exploration and reflection. Our youth deserve a safe space, a place to seek out help and emotional support, and a community that will financially invest in their ideas.

Who is in your family: I have two siblings. My brother is adopted from Ethiopia and my sister is also adopted. I live with my Irish biological mother (I am half Haitian/half Irish) and my step-father.

Who are your heroes: My heroes are the mentors in my life, who are in varied communities in the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley. While I’ve grown from the melodies of Mary J. Blige and Biggie Smalls, and look up to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, the heroes who affect me the most are the ones I can watch and interact with. My mother, who was a single mother at 21, is why I make all of the choices in my life. She is my true superhero.

Favorite book, author: Since reading it was the most soul-changing experience, “Between the World and Me” by Ta Nehisi Coates.

Favorite TV show, movie, music: “Westworld,” “Inception” and R&B/alternative/rap/hip-hop

Favorite social media: SNAPCHAT!!!