Anne Ollen - Barnard College


It is hard to believe that my college experience is almost over. My senior year is off to a fantastic start. I have been taking interesting classes, working at my internship, and enjoying all the great things New York City has to offer. I also was recently invited to join Phi Beta Kappa as a fall inductee, which is reserved for the top 2 percent of the senior class. This is an incredible honor, and I want to thank the donors of MVYouth again for their continued support.

After four years, I have learned a lot about myself and my future ambitions, but I am still unsure about exactly how I see myself as a professional. The past two semesters I have had political internships with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and now New York Assembly Member and DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake. These experiences have taught me a great deal about the copious issues facing New Yorkers including safety concerns in public housing, disagreements over the closing of Rikers Prison, and problems with the public transportation system. Additionally, these internships have allowed me to meet constituents, politicians, and activists from all over the city, which provided me a more holistic understanding of the City which I have come to call home.

While I am still uncertain about a future career in politics, I certainly recognize the power that it has to make a difference in people’s lives if used correctly, as there is no aspect of society that is not affected by government policies or practices. In the next year, I hope to get a job as a political staffer in New York or Washington D.C.. By doing this I hope to have a better understanding of whether a career politics is something that I can see myself doing in the future, and perhaps go back to school to get a Master’s in Public Administration. I am excited to see what these next years have in store for me!

Anne Ollen - Barnard College


This fall I was fortunate enough to spend the semester studying at New York University’s campus in Accra, Ghana. There I took classes with some of Ghana’s best professors in the fields of African history, sociology, literature, and psychology. I also had the opportunity to take a traditional drumming class at the University of Ghana where I learned to play music from the Ga and Ewe people of southeastern Ghana. Studying in Accra allowed me to challenge my prior understandings of the legacies of slavery and colonialism in West Africa, and learn more about how Ghana’s identity as a post-colonial nation effects its socio-political climate today. In addition to taking classes, I volunteered at B.A.S.I.C.S. International, which is an after-school program, in a fishing village near Accra, that provides academic assistance and social services to children of the community. There I got to learn more about certain challenges facing the Ghanaian school system, and how NGOs like B.A.S.I.C.S. are working to alleviate these issues. This semester was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allowed me to live a new country, learn about a different culture, and meet lots of amazing people. I would never have gotten this opportunity if it was not for the support and generosity of MVYouth. I am so grateful!

Anne Ollen - Barnard College


I had another wonderful semester this fall! Sophomore year has proven to be challenging as my classes have become increasingly rigorous. Yet, I am continually amazed by the programs, the professors, and my peers at Barnard. The opportunities that the college and city have provided to me are incredible. Studying at Barnard and living in New York City is a dream come true! This spring I am declaring my major to be Political Science with a minor in Africana Studies. I am also planning to study abroad next fall in Accra, Ghana. I’m excited to travel to another country to pursue my degree and immerse myself in another culture. I’ve had an amazing experience in college thus far, and I am eager to see what my future holds at Barnard and abroad. Thank you again for your continued support! 

Anne Ollen - Barnard College

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My first few months at Barnard have flown by, but I have already experienced so much. My academic classes are challenging but rewarding. Everyday I learn a great deal from my professors and peers. Since arriving I have joined a youth-mentor group, the Columbia Against Cancer Society, and the Committee for Student Life at Barnard. These groups have allowed me to actively engage with my new community. Life in New York has given me a variety of new opportunities. I have attended a UN Committee Panel, a TED talk, a fashion show, and even a few Broadway shows. I am excited to see what the next three years have in store for me. As a result of my scholarship, I can take advantage of every opportunity without the worry of debt. I am so grateful to be attending my dream school and to be living in this amazing city!