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Great Starts: Molly Gallahue ’18
Portrait of student Molly Gallahue

Great Starts: Molly Gallahue ’18

From time to time, we like to showcase a new SNC grad who’s entered the workplace or grad school. Success stories like these are pretty common. In fact, 96 percent of our graduates are in jobs or grad school within a year of graduation – and most of them much sooner than that!

Hometown: St. Paul, Minn.
Graduation year: 2018
Degree: Bachelor of Science (geology and math)
Plans after graduation: Molly entered the Ph.D. program in earth and planetary science at Northwestern University, Fall 2018.

What brought you to St. Norbert?

When I started my senior year of high school, I had never heard of St. Norbert College. I was floundering when it came to college. It was overwhelming trying to sort through piles of college mail and pick out a few schools to visit. I knew that I wanted to major in geology and that I wanted to study abroad, but otherwise I didn’t know anything about what I wanted in my college experience. I decided to visit St. Norbert on a whim, and fell in love immediately. I knew right away it was my future home. Every person I encountered, from my tour guide to admissions counselor, and even the college president, made me feel like I was valued for what I could contribute to the St. Norbert community. I made lifelong friendships and connections there, and had many opportunities that allowed me to reach outside my comfort zone, grow and mature. I credit SNC for shaping me into the person that I am today.

What surprised you about the academic experience at St. Norbert?

One of my favorite things about my time at SNC and specifically my major is that geology requires you to learn in the field as well as the classroom. As a result, most of my upper-level geology classes included weekend field trips. I have so many memories of sitting around a campfire with my classmates, under the stars, while our professor strummed guitar and we made s’mores. However, more than just making memories and building relationships, these field trips helped me to grasp geological concepts and visualize how they appear in the field. My time spent on these field trips is a true example of the Norbertine motto “docere verbo et exemplo”- to teach by word and example. My professors were so dedicated to this philosophy that they spent several weekends driving hours across Wisconsin, Michigan or all the way to South Dakota with a van full of college students to teach us what textbooks cannot. I am lucky to have gone to a school with such amazing professors.

What was the path to grad school like?

At my very first advisement appointment, my advisor, Prof. Flood, planted the seed of graduate school in my mind. Over the next few years, I worked toward my geology major, and after taking a few upper level math classes, I decided to add a math minor. This minor eventually became my second major during my third year at SNC. The flexibility of classes at St. Norbert is what made my double major possible. My double-major was extremely significant when I began applying to graduate school during my senior year, and it made my application stand out among many others.

What kind of help did you get?

The graduate school application process was stressful, but it was reassuring to know that I had a handful of professors I could turn to for advice. I had several life chats with various professors as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, or what life had in store for me. My professors helped look over my personal statement and my C.V., and they coached me through practice admissions interviews. Prof. Flood connected me with several alumni of SNC that were in graduate school, or post-graduate school, in the same field I was thinking of entering so that I could network and ask questions.

What did you learn outside the classroom at SNC?

My most memorable college experience was the semester I spent abroad in Cork, Ireland. Studying abroad had been a life-long dream for me, because my family is very proud of our Irish heritage and I was a competitive Irish dancer for nearly ten years. During my time studying at the University College Cork, I was able to take classes that explored my heritage. I expected my time abroad to teach me more about my host country and the culture associated with it, but I did not expect my study abroad experience to teach me so much about myself. Studying abroad was quite different than life on campus at St. Norbert, and it was challenging to be on a new campus in a new country. The four months I spent in Ireland taught me how to live on my own, travel independently, manage finances, and much more. I’m so thankful that St. Norbert provided me with the resources and flexibility to study abroad!