with Athina Alvarez:
Why did you apply to Mellon Scholars Program?
I applied to the Mellon Scholars Program at the end of my Freshman year and
my main goal was to become a part of a group of scholars that would help
me better my research and presentation skills. I saw the Mellon Scholars
Program as an opportunity to express my passion for Art History, French,
Studio Art, and Design all at once; something that I had not been able to
do in regular classes. Seeing as most of my time is spent with students and
faculty who all belong to my fields of study, I was excited at the thought
of being able to learn more about the other departments and what they have
What have you found most challenging about it?
The most challenging part of the Program was the very first semester. I hadn't
quite yet figured out how to manage my time, how to organize my thoughts,
how to present with confidence, or even how to bring forth research that
could be my own and unique in content and argument. I had my doubts about
whether or not I should even be a part of the program. Luckily, as time progressed,
I realized that the skills I was working hard to obtain would be useful not
only for my Hope College career, but also for the real world and future studies.
How do you think your experience in the program has contributed
to your experience at Hope College?
Being a part of this Program truly broadened my horizons in all sense of the
term. I was able to assist numerous interdisciplinary events, constructively
debate material with my peers, formulate my own arguments, and work successfully
as a team. The particular Mellon Scholars class of 2013 was remarkable in terms
of its genuine and gifted members and it was enlightening and refreshing to
be around students outside of my discipline. The Program has also made me participate
more in Hope events, become more active in the Hope community and it has made
me want to do as much as possible to meet new people, understand their viewpoints,
and discover all that I can while at Hope.
What are your most significant accomplishments as a Mellon
Scholar (i.e., projects, presentations, grants)?
As a Mellon Scholar, I have already experienced many great things. Besides
presenting at venues such as CUR, I also plan on presenting at the Holland
Museum, Michigan Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as Calvin College. I've
been able to research original topics that interest me and that have no limitations.
I've designed two websites so far for digital projects, which gave me the opportunity
to also put my Design skills to use. Mellon also opened up numerous opportunities
for me and I was glad to work on numerous Design internships under the supervision
of one of my mentors, Professor Stephanie Milanowski, on launching a new consumable
product, creating the Hope College Concert Series posters and Revue Magazine
advertisements, creating the HEI Annual Report and promotional posters, starting
the Annual Report for the Downs Syndrome Association of West Michigan, creating
banners for various events, and I have even begun designing possibilities for
the Mellon Scholars brand. In the realm of Studio Art, I was pleased to see
that two of my large photographs made it into the DePree Gallery this past
semester and that another one of my photographs was chosen as the cover of
the CUR Abstracts book for 2012. Overall, Mellon Scholars has been a wonderful
way to express all of my areas of interest and it has opened endless doors
to unforgettable opportunities.
What do you expect to do beyond your time at Hope College?
I plan on graduating from Hope with a triple major in French, Art History,
and Studio Art. I plan to go to Grad School for Photography and Design and
to take on various internships for art restoration. My ideal career is in
the realm of art restoration in museums or small workshops in Europe. I also
plan on being a freelance photographer and designer. If time allows it, I
would also be very interested in working as a translator or photo-journalist.
What advice would you give to a student who is considering
To any student considering the program, I would recommend to never think twice
or doubt the Program's benefits. It truly prepares you intellectually and it
helps you find your own personality and voice. Mellon allows you to step out
of the ordinary mold and to research what interests you, all while offering
you a glimpse at all of the disciplines of Hope College.
Athina Alvarez in Mellon News and Events:
Athina Alvarez, “Tulips as Cultural Emblems in 17th-Century
Netherlands, ” April 13, 2012.
for Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance
Athina Alvarez Artwork Chosen for 11th Annual Celebration of Undergraduate
Research and Creative Performance Abstract Cover Artwork January
Athina Alvarez, "Leonardo da Vinci, Francis I, and the Struggle
for International Prestige in 16th-Century France," April 15,
Mellon Scholars present projects at Celebration for Undergraduate