From Our Scholar Blogs:

The power of the SHE-CAN sisterhood – by Vuochnear Ly

The power of the SHE-CAN sisterhood – by Vuochnear Ly

​Having been with SHE-CAN for over three years, I’m incredibly grateful to the SHE-CAN staff, my mentors and my SHE-CAN sisters who are always by my side under every circumstance. The SHE-CAN sisterhood is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and thanks to the other scholars in the program I’ve created friendships that will last a lifetime. Although we are not biological sisters, our passions and ambitions to be future leaders allow us to form strong bonds. I admire and appreciate every moment we share together. 

PictureExploring D.C. with Simin

Honestly speaking we are a chain of support, and the older scholars always provide assistance to the younger scholars. Based on my own experience, I cannot thank SHE-CAN alumna Simin Wahdat, my Afghanistan sister, enough for her unconditional support. When Simin was first announced as my big sister I felt so blessed because I knew I’d always have someone to look up to and seek support when I am in need of it here in America. To me, Simin is very special. During my first month at Gettysburg College, we talked via Skype and phone every weekend. Through those conversations we got to know each other really well and as time went by our friendship grew. Simin gave me good advice on how to get acclimated on campus. Additionally, she shared hardships that she had been through and encouraged me to challenge myself in any situation I deemed necessary.

PicturePhalkun, Simin and I

​At home, I’m the older sister among my three siblings. I don’t have a big sister to look up to and discuss my problems with, but here I have Simin who is always right there whenever I need her. Last spring break, I spent quality time in D.C. with Simin and my Lafayette SHE-CAN sister Phalkun Out. Simin invited us to stay at her place and was an amazing host. She truly gave us a warmhearted welcome.

​Not only did she always make sure we were comfortable during our stay, but she was an excellent tour guide around D.C. During our time together, we learned a lot from one another about cultures, traditions and life in the U.S. Most recently, Simin helped me find housing in D.C. for this coming summer. She introduced me to her previous landlord who is generous and thoughtful. I’m grateful to know Simin and have her in my life. 

PictureSunset walk with Irene

​Now that I’m a sophomore, it’s time for me to give back to our SHE-CAN sisterhood. Last year I was over the moon when I found out that Irene Mugeni was going to join me at Gettysburg! Not only could I become her big sister, but I knew that I’d have somebody on campus who shares similar interests and visions even though we aren’t connected by blood. Earlier this year, we hung out quite often. We went for walks and had meals together to get to know each other better. Moreover, I helped her get settled on campus similar to how Simin helped me my freshman year. I’m happy to have Irene here with me, and I also cannot wait to have Nich Vunn, an incoming freshman from Cambodia, join us here next fall. I’m excited for her, and I’ve been helping her with any questions she has before her journey to America starts. Here at Gettysburg College, our sisterhood is expanding. I’m happy to see this!


Selfies with Sreileak Hour at R2.0 rehearsal


Exploring D.C. with Guech Sok

​In addition to Simin, Irene and Nich, I can’t forget about my other Cambodian SHE-CAN sisters. I appreciate the time and effort that all of us spend to support and cheer each other up. We check in with each other often and sometimes we have a group call where we share concerns as well as good things we have experienced. We often support and encourage one another to stay strong and optimistic. My Rwandan sisters are also a part of my life. Their success and experiences really inspire me. 
​One time of the year that I like the most is SHE-CAN’s annual Leadership Summit. It’s a weekend where I’m reunited with all my Cambodian and Rwandan sisters and we continue to grow as leaders together. I’m already counting down to next year, and I’m so grateful to have all these incredible women in my life!

All smiles with my SHE-CAN sisters at this year’s Leadership Summit