Jamie Hollins is a 2017 graduate and current student in the English master's program. If she had to describe Mount Mary in only one word, she would choose collaboration.
"In my experience as an undergraduate transfer student and now as a scholar in the Master of Arts English program, I continue to be in awe of the ways in which our community rallies to serve the student body. An example of this in my own journey stems from a time when I was distraught over complications in my personal life resulting in housing insecurity. It took away from my academic focus. In this very difficult time, I decided to be vulnerable and speak up about the challenges I faced. In doing so, I was encouraged by a professor of mine to reach out to Student Success Center personnel. Together, they helped me to achieve a practical solution. I am fortunate to be surrounded by faculty and staff that are compassionate and resourceful.
Recently, I have taken on a new role at Mount Mary as the administrative assistant in the Registrar’s Office. Being a part of the Registrar’s team has resulted in stronger interpersonal connections, greater opportunities to be a positive influence to my peers, and exponential growth in self-sufficiency. The role has sharpened skills that I have accumulated throughout my academic journey. Now, I can confidently say that I am a self-actualized member of society.
The hope that I have for Mount Mary is this: to continue its long legacy of investing in the dreams of young scholars. As a first generation college student, I felt that the odds were stacked against me when it came to earning my first degree."
Trisha Xiong is majoring in biology health science and minoring in psychology. She loves that Mount Mary has an atmosphere of sisterhood. This is why Mount Mary became her top choice when she choose which university to attend.
“There is a bond here like nowhere else. Women who come from all walks of life and are of different ethnicities are able to relate to each other. And when we cannot empathize, we sympathize. Our experiences make us who we are, and as a team, we are so strong. Mount Mary is a promising place for women to find their identity through their faith or social justice. From my personal experience here, I’ve never for a second felt left behind or as a second-class citizen. The diversity of this school is what makes it stand out.
Mount Mary has provided me with resources, a listening ear, and a bond between sisters that cannot be broken. The resources are for all students who are in need. This is not limited to tutoring sessions. There are counselors here on campus that help students deal with stress. To know that my school provides this allows me to recognize how far they will go to help us all. In addition, because of all the committees and student organizations on campus, I’ve always felt like my voice was heard. Every individual who has had a suggestion for change has been taken into consideration. Lastly, because of the size of the campus, we are able to make stronger connections to each other as peers. We help each other, and we even get involved in each others’ lives.”
Mako Shidad is currently studying fashion design. As a child, she spent six years living in a refugee camp in Dadab, Kenya.
“Mount Mary has always been close to my heart. My sister graduated from here a couple years ago and was a living testament to how Mount Mary helps a woman grow not only academically but also as an individual. The more diverse my surroundings, the more comfortable I feel, making it easier for me to succeed and grow.
Financial aid played a huge role in my college decision. Coming from a refugee family, money has always been a deciding factor in any decision-making. My first year of college, I was lucky enough to be a Grace Scholar recipient. This scholarship covered 85% of my tuition at Mount Mary for all for four years, and when I, an African refugee who never even imagined going to school, was given that opportunity, the sky was the limit. Then when I got news of winning the Wisconsin Grant, which would give me up to $1,000 each semester, the possibilities were endless. I knew that with Grace and the Wisconsin Grant combined, I could do and be anything I wanted to.
Born and coming from a country where women are persecuted for getting an education, I have made it my goal to be a leader and advocate for women’s educational rights. With my college degree, I hope to start a nonprofit organization and open an all-girls boarding school in Kenya, to prove to them that success can be more than a dream.”
Along with opening an all-girls boarding school in Kenya, Mako hopes to design her own clothing line, exclusively made in Kenya. All of the profits from the line would benefit the boarding school.
Mount Mary’s mission statement with justice and leadership has influenced me to be a leader for other, even for my home, thousands of miles away.”
Aisha Ullius is a senior majoring in art education and art therapy. She feels Mount Mary's community and smaller class sizes have helped her flourish.
“Mount Mary has provided me with so many opportunities to build my leadership skills and creativity. Being a SOAR (student orientation and registration) leader, I am able to help new students by facilitating their questions and making sure they feel ready for college. I am also grateful to be a student representative for the honors program on campus. I enjoy working with different faculty from all different departments and bringing forward other opportunities for my peers...The campus magazine, Arches has helped me understand the submission process for artwork and be able to share my work in a creative way.
Overall, I have made a new support system in my life because of Mount Mary. I have friendships from all different majors and backgrounds. I feel that I am building a strong network of people that I can reach out to beyond my years in college.
Because of the drive and opportunities that this campus holds, I feel I am able to make the most out of my time in college and be ready to transform the world.”