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At LEAP, nearly 300 Mount Holyoke students present about their internships and research experiences. You will hear from future policy makers, activists, entrepeneurs, data scientists, teachers, researchers, and market analysts. Most will tell stories of unmitigated success and transformative learning. Others will share details of unexpected challenges they faced, and how they were required to shift and adapt in response. Students worked in 42 countries in every imaginable field. They will discuss important issues of social justice, relate how they met challenges of communication and expression in new contexts, and talk about how to find and succeed in summer internships.

LEAP is designed to give students who aspire to undertake internships and summer research the opportunity to learn from their peers. It is also for the whole Mount Holyoke community where family, friends, faculty, staff and our alumnae come together to celebrate the work and contributions of the presenters.

We are hugely impressed by students in College 211 and inspired by their individual success and collective learning. Their work in bringing the LEAP Symposium to fruition was exceptional. We thank the faculty, staff, alumnae, donors, and internship and research providers whose contributions have make this event possible.

LEAP presenters: Congratulations.
avatar for Javeria Kella

Javeria Kella

International Relations & Geography Major
Beyond Textbook Theories: Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict Liberia
The dialogue on war and peace has existed throughout time. Historically, textbooks have conceptualized post-conflict states as inadequate entities, and peace has been glamorized and associated with the civilized men. Today, we associate these civilized men with international institutions and romanticize the roles they play, while overlooking the roles of women and local communities within conflict-stricken states. My time at the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa in Liberia made me question these very historic notions. It demystified this work from an elitist field to a locally driven effort. In post-conflict Liberia, I understood the importance of women and local communities in perpetuating peaceful ideas, which are then capitalized upon by international institutions. It exposed me to the importance of this work on a local plane. In my presentation, using Liberia as a broader lens, I will re-evaluate predetermined notions in the field of peace and conflict resolution, and promote the significance of indigenous people in initiating peaceful communities.