Encouraged by her family to chase her dreams, Mayavellie Bochas ’21 left behind Morgan City, La., and came to Hanover College to pursue a scholarship competition. The small campus made an impact.

Instantly falling in love with the community, Bochas says, “Every person I met wanted to hear my story and genuinely cared. I felt as though the academics would be challenging enough where I would be pushed, but I would have some outstanding professors who would make it feel easy. The view was also phenomenal and being above sea-level for once was an opportunity I couldn't pass up!”

Mayavellie Bochas receiving award from Dr. Lambert

A psychology major, with minors in political science and philosophy, Bochas hasn’t turned down a single opportunity at Hanover and has pushed herself to try new things. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, she was able to complete and present her research, and gain the confidence to join other research projects. She is a member of three research teams: two being affiliated with Hanover professors and one called GEARS, which is partnered with the University of Louisville's Engineering Program where she can share her senior thesis work. She has been challenged academically, earning the 2021 Distinguished Award in Psychology and a spot on the Dean’s List twice.

“The psychology department has an amazing tight-knit group of professors that I can always count on! In particular, Dr. John Krantz and Dr. Kate Snyder have always had a huge impact on my time here. Both have always reminded me that it is perfectly okay to change my plans, struggle with class material, ask questions, and always celebrate my accomplishments. From Skip’s jokes [Professor Skip Dine-Young], Dr. [Mary] Saczawa’s helpful comments, and Professor [Sandra] Collins’s big heart, I really would not have the motivation to be the student I am today. I didn’t find this inspiration only in my major field though: Professor Jared Bates and Professor Kate Johnson in the Philosophy department just have such a passion for what they do that without them, I would have never explored and found my love for the subject!”

Bochas is also heavily involved on campus as a student ambassador in the Office of Admission, the president of Best Buddies, the secretary of Psychology Club, the vice president of HC Democrats, a Senator-at-Large and a senator for the senior class, and a sister in Chi Omega sorority.

Mayavellie Bochas

“I can also be found studying for classes or working on research in the Science Center, babysitting and tutoring for several families in the Madison community, as well as doing the same for some of the Hanover faculty and staff. With free time, I get coffee in the Underground with my friends or you can find me with my cat, Sweet Pea, studying or walking in front of the Campus Center. I like to stay busy with my time,” she says.

Though she is far from home, Bochas has crafted a strong support system of friends and faculty members: “I have constant support to face whatever might be the struggle at the time. I know that even through some of my hardest moments here, I had someone looking out for me.” She says, “I can distinctly remember the time I ended up with the flu my sophomore year and my mom was so worried about how I would get anything I need because she obviously could not come from Louisiana. Right away I had sorority sisters volunteering to bring me meals and medicine and professors making sure I had notes to not fall behind. Moments like those, although hard in the moment, are what makes you stay with Hanover.”

In closing, Bochas remarks, “I am a pretty happy person in general, but some things that never fail to put a smile on my face are my two cats and boyfriend, my amazing family back home in Louisiana, my friends around the country and especially here at Hanover, the color yellow, and a good iced coffee or tea.”

After graduation this May, Bochas will start as a behavioral youth counselor with Youth Village’s YV 360’s Career Development Program in Memphis, Tenn. She notes she is excited to see her friends and classmates rise through the difficulties of the past year and take on their next steps.