Mount Holyoke Students Study MacDuffie History From the Source


(From left) Eleanor Springer, Renee Pelletier, and Miesha Moss pose in the stacks, where the Mount Holyoke students are researching MacDuffie history. Photo by Alexis Chapin.

Alexis Chapin, Managing Editor

You may have seen in the computer lab or in the lunchroom three new members of the community who never go to classes, but are too young to be teachers. They are history interns from Mount Holyoke College working on a project with Director of Marketing and Communications Jodie Boduch, and their names are Renee Pelletier, Eleanor Springer, and Miesha Moss.

The three have stumbled across some interesting things during their research. Pelletier says that one of her favorite items is “Abby MacDuffie’s book The Little Pilgrim. It’s a great read.” Pelletier also loves the poems written by the former custodian James Walsh. He worked at MacDuffie between the 1930s and the 1960s back when MacDuffie was still an only girls school, and when the boarding students had to give a speech at their special birthday dinners, he would write them poems to read aloud.

Moss says “my mom has always been interested in photography, so I’m more interested in the old graduation photos and seeing how different [they are] from now.” She also points out the similarities between Mount Holyoke’s graduation photos and our graduation photos.

The yearbooks stand out to Springer, and the 1907 one in particular was really striking to her. Reached via email, she said “there’s an editorial written by the yearbook creators [as an introduction to the yearbook] that really stood out to me. The editorial is important not because it changed my perception of MacDuffie School history, but because the creators knew then that they were setting a precedent for future classes by creating a yearbook that would in a sense immortalize their experiences.”

In her spare time, Moss is the Arts and Entertainment editor for Mount Holyoke News, Mount Holyoke’s student run newspaper. She also helps to plan the college’s spring concert, and is a member of Posse, a program that unites and supports students from Mount Holyoke from the Miami area. Pelletier is in the handbell choir, the “Ding-a-lings.” She is also on the youth advisory board of the Born This Way foundation, a charity organized by Lady Gaga and her mother. Springer is the Copy Chief of Mount Holyoke News, and says she “appreciate[s] the opportunity to be involved with cataloging the news and its affect on Mount Holyoke students.” At this time, she is also working on an independent study about techno-politics that looks “at the role that international oil markets had on United States domestic policy after World War Two.”


Because the interns have gone through the college process not too long ago, they also had advice to all the seniors that will soon start college next year. Moss says it is important not to limit oneself. “I went very far away from home, and that comes with all sorts of struggles; I didn’t have a fantastic first year, but I can’t imagine making a different decision.” She says that she compared herself and her dreams to her high school peers, but that in college people are trying to be successful, so there is a lot less pressure.


Pelletier says “Apply to a bunch of colleges. Don’t say, ‘I can’t do this one because I’ve already applied to a bunch.’ Who cares?” Another tip from experience is that students can often receive application fee waivers simply by contacting colleges and asking. Many waivers also come in the mail, which the women stress the importance of checking daily. Springer also says that “basically no matter where you go, and basically no matter what you are interested in, you can pursue your own course of study.”
While the interns are hard at work in the computer lab, feel free to stop and say hello, they would love to get to know more members of the MacDuffie community.