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Great Starts: Molly Freye ’22
Portrait of student Molly Freye

Great Starts: Molly Freye ’22

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!

Graduation year: 2022
Degree: Economics and Business Administration – Finance
Plans after graduation: Molly is working as a diversity, equity & inclusion rotational specialist at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison.

What is your new position and what are you most looking forward to?

I interned with the insurance firm CUNA Mutual Group last summer and loved my experience. I was hired in November, and it was nice to have that off the to-do-list.

The position is in a very competitive two-year program; they only pick four people every two years. Over the course of the program, there are four rotations; in each, you spend six months with a different department. After those two years you can pick what position you want, or they open a position for you based on your interests and what you enjoy. I’m primarily interested in the venture capital and multicultural business strategy segments.

I am very excited that I am going to be able to build a robust skill set and not just going into one thing; I’m going to be able to learn different techniques and programs. I’m really excited to figure out what I do and don’t like.

How did St. Norbert prepare you for this opportunity?

Because St. Norbert is a small college, I took on so many opportunities here. This year alone, I had three on-campus jobs. I was able to work in the Center for Business & Economic Analysis, and in that job, I did a lot of research in data analytics, specifically cultural issues like how COVID-19 affected women in the workforce. That really helped me develop presentation skills and communication skills, as well as critical research skills. I’ve been involved in many student organizations and am fortunate to be serving as president for the Student Government Association this year. In that role, I’ve learned a lot about different infrastructures and how they work, and I learned how to manage a team.

The position at CUNA is reflective of me because I’m involved in so many things here, and in my new job I’ll be taking on many roles at the same time. If you think about your college experience and your first year, you can basically recreate yourself. Here I’ve figured out what is important to me, what I want to prioritize.

How did you know St. Norbert was the right place for you?

What drew me here initially was the personalization and the number of opportunities available. I remember getting the acceptance letter and it said exactly why SNC accepted me. I was really touched that a college took the time to say, “This is why we want you.” And then on top of it, they gave me the top scholarship. I felt valued coming in, and I just had a gut feeling that “this feels like it’s going to be home.”

How have faculty and staff helped shape your SNC experience?

I have been fortunate to have quite a few mentors. Dr. Shelly Mumma, the director of the LSE office, now the Center for Student Engagement. I completed the emerging leaders program my first year and Shelly was the staff leader. I’ve worked with her now all four years, and she really helped me understand what kind of professional skills are needed to run a program like that. She gave me a lot of autonomy to work with my students.

Meredith Hansen was the director of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant-funded projects, and she was a wonderful friend and mentor. She gave me an opportunity to do research and helped guide me in how I could make cultural change, which is incredibly hard to do and a very long process. She was so genuine and cared so much about every person she worked with.

What would you tell prospective and first-year SNC students?

Apply for every opportunity, go to events and take on challenges. There are a lot of unique experiences here because it is a smaller campus, and you can build those personal relationships. When you establish those relationships, you learn from people and build new friendships. If you’re interested in it, at least try it. Go to that first meeting, apply to that job. You can always say “no” later.