Virginia Guerra ’19

Photo of Virginia Guerra ’19

Name: Virginia Guerra ’19

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Major: international relations and Italian studies double major

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Campus involvement: Posse Scholar, Italian language mentor, Diversity Outreach Fellow for the Office of Admission, program assistant for the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, and co-social chair of La Unidad.

Proudest accomplishment at Mount Holyoke: As an Italian language mentor, I am constantly meeting with students who feel lost within their language-learning process. The proudest accomplishment that I have had at Mount Holyoke was when one of those students hugged me and told me that because of my help and my lessons, she was able able to get an A on her Italian exam.

A place or an experience you will miss at Mount Holyoke: I will miss walking around the campus and taking in the beautiful scenery in every season — even in winter.

How a close connection with a faculty member has shaped you: My close connection with Morena Svaldi in Italian studies has made me realize that I am more capable of doing things than I may initially believe. Having her support throughout my entire four years has been incredible. I would not be where I am without her.

Course that surprised you, or that you thought you might not like: I absolutely loved Economic Development: A Survey with Sarah Adelman in the economics department. I  have always struggled with economics courses, so initially I was extremely nervous about taking the course. However, she is an incredible professor and I learned many things in relation to economic development in less developed countries, such as what counts as aid, how to calculate human development index and the factors that affect it, and how to calculate dual producer-consumer agricultural household models.  

Best takeaway from internship or research experiences: When I interned at Università Ca' Foscari Venezia in Venice, Italy, I realized that I was able to seamlessly adapt to change. I also realized how strong and confident I am, which fueled the rest of my Mount Holyoke experience.

How Mount Holyoke has shaped your global outlook: Mount Holyoke gave me incredible opportunities. I studied abroad in Bologna, Italy, through Indiana University’s Bologna Consortial Studies Program. This experience shaped my global outlook because it exposed me to a culture different from my own and I learned how to navigate situations that I had never encountered before. Mount Holyoke prepared me to navigate through difficult and challenging scenarios and this experience helped broaden my global perspective.

Favorite Five College experience: My West African dance class at Amherst College. I have taken West African dance five semesters straight with Marilyn Sylla and Sekou Sylla and it has been such an important part of my Mount Holyoke experience. Last fall, I got to perform in Marilyn and Sekou’s piece in the Faculty Dance Concert and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had at Mount Holyoke. I had dreamed of being a part of that show ever since I started dancing West African dance. With Marilyn and Sekou retiring this year, dancing in that show as a senior was very emotional for me.

Future plans: I will be a bilingual (Italian and English) flight attendant with American Airlines. I am also looking forward to going to graduate school to obtain my master’s degree. I plan to become a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department.