What position do you hold at SFS? What has been your career path so far?
Molly: I am the Student Affairs Manager at the The SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). As Student Affairs Manager, I am responsible for the non-academic aspects of the program including health and safety, risk management, community outreach and integration, in-country travel, and student life.
My favorite aspect of my job is the community outreach and integration part—I get to coordinate different opportunities to get the students involved with the local people and culture. My career path has taken many loops and turns, but I am happiest when I was facilitating intercultural experiences.
Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Molly: I studied abroad every chance I could; I have a world atlas kids book that I began drawing travel routes in (every single page has multiple options for future me) when I was about ten. Travel has always been something that I aspired to do. I began studying abroad when I was a senior in high school, spending that year in Zaragoza, Spain. I then went abroad every year of my undergraduate career: Patagonia, Chile; Salamanca, Spain; Perugia, Italy; Santiago, Chile.
I first went abroad because I wanted to explore the world – in high school the world seems so big and exotic, I wanted to start to see it. I continued to go abroad because there were so many different places, cultures, and languages to learn.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Molly: My graduate degree is in International Education, so I have had a lot of theory and study about this topic; what trends will continue, how will it all change. I hope to see an increase in STEM students, underrepresented populations, and non-traditional students going abroad.
I think that the more that people go abroad and look outside of themselves, the better off we will be. While study abroad is my profession, I also believe that there will be an increase in in-country exchanges; we tend to forget that even within our own country the cultures are very different depending on the region.
What unique qualities does SFS possess?
Molly: SFS is a perfect program for STEM students. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students often do not go abroad because they are unable to transfer credits due to the rigorous requirements of their degree area.
As such, the programs that SFS runs, such as TCI’s Marine Resource Studies, enables students to continue with their biology requirements while abroad. The students are not cooped up in a classroom all day, but rather go into the field, engaged in hands-on learning. This is coupled with community outreach, where students have opportunities to get to know the culture, people, and language (and the importance of the topics studied in class).