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Class of 2022: Dalanda Diallo

Dalanda Diallo joined McDaniel as a transfer student with a plan. A dual Political Science and self-designed French Studies major, Dalanda interned for a U.S. senator and at the United Nations Refugee Agency and lived in the French Language House on campus. A member of the Honors Program and a Global Fellow, National Security Fellow, Green Ambassador, and Home on the Hill Food Pantry manager, Dalanda immersed herself in every opportunity to get real world experience at McDaniel. After graduation, Dalanda will be pursuing further studies with a Critical Language Scholarship.

Dalanda Diallo poses with a hand on her hip.

Dalanda Diallo is a dual Political Science with a specialization in International Studies and student-designed French Studies major from Montgomery Village, Maryland, who grew up in Guinea.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: A transfer student coming in as a junior. 

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: More self-aware, confident, and knowledgeable about what I want to do in the future. 

Real world experiences: During my time at McDaniel, I was thrilled to intern in the office of U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen as a constituent services intern and at the United Nations Refugee Agency as a protection and solutions intern. Though I did not get to study abroad, I was able to live in the French Language House during my junior year. My internships were deeply enriching experiences that allowed me to build friendships with amazing peers and build connections with amazing professionals!

My aha moment: On the Hill, I learned to not let imposter syndrome stop me from applying to opportunities and experiences that I may have thought were out of my reach in the past. I became more confident in my knowledge and abilities, and I made sure not to become my own barrier when applying for cool internships and opportunities. 

Footprints I'm leaving on the Hill: I want to represent transfer students because it was interesting going through the college application process twice. Finally, I received the support I needed to fall into place in the school and make sure that I was ready to continue towards earning my bachelor’s degree. 

Faculty or staff member who most influenced who I have become: Cathy Gunther is a staff member that influenced me the most. She is my supervisor for the Home on the Hill Program, and she is truly a fantastic person. Having her as a supervisor allowed me to practice my advocacy skills as I spoke about the Home on the Hill program, the purpose of the pantry, and who we serve. In addition, being the pantry manager allowed me to price my communication and leadership skills and helped to make me a better member of the McDaniel community. 

Best class ever: I loved the Honors: My Career course with Professor Chloe Irla. I was able to do more research on prospective career fields I thought about integrating in the future, and the course solidified my knowledge about what I want to do in the future. 

Took me totally by surprise: The relationship that students can build with their professors and how caring professors and faculty members are toward their students. 

My favorite spot on campus: My favorite spot on campus would be the gazebo with the fairy lights. This is my favorite spot on campus because it has a really great view, and it’s a nice place to sit down for a little bit after a walk around campus. 

Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: Knowing what you want out of college to get the most out of it and avoid unnecessary debt is essential. If you know the intended field that you want to go into requires a master’s degree for most job positions that you wish to do in the future, then college may be for you. However, college is also about making the most of your time and ensuring you effectively understand and grasp the academic information you indulge in, making you a more prepared job candidate. 

My capstone title: “Africa’s Anguish: Coups in Democracies.”

What it’s about in plain talk: My research centers on the occurrence of coups d’états in Africa, specifically in the region of West Africa, where I focus on Guinea and Mali. I explore why coups d’états happen in these countries, what conditions make them more likely to occur in other places, and how they represent democratic backsliding and lead to more distress and suffering in Guinea and Mali. 

Tell us a little about your activities, including sports, during your years at McDaniel: During my time at McDaniel, I was honored to join the Honors Program, the Global Fellows Program, the National Security Fellows Program, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Pi Gamma Mu. I was also a recipient of the Summer Intern Fellowship Award in September 2021, and I was on the Dean’s List from fall 2020-fall 2021. I was also a member of the Model United Nations and attended the National Model UN conference in New York in April, where I represented the United Nations Development Programme as a part of the Bangladesh team.

On campus, I was also the Home on the Hill Food Pantry manager, a Green Ambassador, a SASS tutor, and the French Language Director for the French house during the spring semester of my junior year. Lastly, I also became a mentor at Westminster’s Boys and Girls Club! 

What’s next: I will be learning Swahili virtually this summer as a Critical Language Scholarship recipient. Afterward, I plan to apply to graduate school in the Washington, D.C., area. 

What did it mean to receive financial aid? Receiving scholarships and grants from McDaniel immensely helped my family and me. I received my degree without the anxiety and stress that came with worrying about how to pay for my tuition next semester. 

How will you stay connected to McDaniel? I will stay connected through the alumni network, and I hope to attend networking events!

About Dalanda

Name: Dalanda Diallo

Major: Political Science with a specialization in International Studies and self-designed French Studies

Class of 2022

"My internships were deeply enriching experiences that allowed me to build friendships with amazing peers and build connections with amazing professionals!"