Holly Jordan, ’06, loves working with students to share her passions for international relations, religious study and political thought. A leader in the Model Programs during her whirlwind education at Converse, Holly is now a PhD student, teacher, and Model Program organizer at Virginia Tech.
Packing it in at Converse
Always eager to accomplish as much as possible in the least time possible, Holly completed her Converse degree in three years. She majored in political science with a religion minor. In her second year, she wrote a junior thesis under Dr. Jeff Poelvoorde’s guidance which compared and contrasted views of marriage, the family, and politics in the Biblical book of “Genesis” and Aristotle’s Politics. Her senior thesis, written under Dr. Joe Dunn’s guidance, consisted of an extended policy briefing on US-Egyptian relations.
“As part of my service to Model NATO, I attended a NATO youth summit in Reyjkavik, Iceland.”
Holly was an active Model Programs team member during all three years at Converse. In the Model Arab League (MAL) programs, her titles included delegate, justice, Assistant Chief Justice, Chief Justice, and chair of Joint Defense. She was also a member of Converse’s first delegation to Model NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). “As part of my service to Model NATO, I attended a NATO youth summit in Reyjkavik, Iceland in summer 2005. Senior year, I served as Head Delegate for the Model NATO class as well as the first female Secretary-General at Model NATO. For this, I was the first recipient of the Converse College Model NATO Award.”
Pursuing Advanced Education
After Converse, Holly completed an M.A. in religion at the University of Georgia. Still, she couldn’t stay away from her alma mater. During her years at UGA, she returned to Converse yearly to assist with the Southeast Model Arab League. Holly is now a second year student in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought at Virginia Tech. She is a teaching assistant in the department of religion and culture. Holly’s research is on the changes in Jewish and Muslim religious practices within Israel and Palestine in response to the founding of the state of Israel.
Launching a New Model Program
“When I arrived at Virginia Tech, I became involved with the International Relations Organization student group and put together a partial delegation to compete at the Southeast MAL. The three of us took away two awards — having only had about two weeks to prepare!” This success emboldened Holly to approach the authorities at Virginia Tech to create a Model program. “Together , we designed a senior-level special study in regional international organizations, which we now co-teach.” In its first year at Model NATO, Holly’s student team has already won an Honorable Mention Delegate in Committee award, and contributed as authors to communiqués in every committee. Of her team she says, “I could not be prouder!”
The Value of Model Programs
Asked about the most satisfying aspect of her work with Model Programs students, Holly says, “I hate to inflate his ego, but I am overwhelmed by how right Dr. Dunn has been all these years about the value of these programs. I always understood how the programs had been valuable to me as a student and academic, and I knew how lucky I was to be surrounded by the brilliant women on our team at Converse. But it is something completely different to watch your own students go through the program.” “I just returned from a trip with seven undergraduates from Tech, and watching each of them grow in confidence both in their public speaking and their own research was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I now understand exactly why Dr. Dunn has remained actively involved in the Model world all of these years, and I cannot see a future where I do not work with students in these programs.”