Catching Up With:
Mary Crimmins – Assistant Director of Student Activities, Salve Regina University
Communications Graduate, Class of 2009

Since graduating Molloy College with a degree in Communications in 2009, Mary Crimmins has been thriving with a successful career in higher education.  Looking back, her career goals began once she entered the communications department.  “My goals upon entering the communication department were to truly immerse myself in my studies and soak up all the knowledge I could. I feel if you have a strong foundation in communications, all other aspects of your life (family, work, etc.) will benefit”.

There were a number of skills Mary developed during her time at Molloy that helps her in her current position as Assistant Director of Student Activities at Salve Regina University. “Communication is number one. I work with a variety of people, from students to vendors to the President of my institution. You have to be able to communicate effectively with different people in order to succeed. While working in groups or directly one-to-one with professors, I learned how to speak to different people. I also gained a strong foundation in technology, which has greatly assisted me in social media contests I have initiated and orientation videos I have compiled”.

Two communications courses that had an effect on her life, job, and way of thinking were Public Speaking and Communication Ethics.  Communications Professor & Chairperson Brian Cogan, specifically taught Mary a valuable lesson.  “Dr. Cogan taught me that building relationships with students is important and valuable for them to respect you. He was always very real with us and spoke with us, not at us. I really valued his way of teaching and try to bring those same ideals to work with me every day”.  Looking back at her time at Molloy and the Communications Department, one of her favorite memories was how close all of the communications students and professors were.  At any point, Mary felt that she could drop by the office and just say hello to Dr. Brian Cogan, Dr. Deidre Pribram, and Dr. Janice Kelly.  The department brought a comfortable family atmosphere, in her opinion.

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Mary was very active and involved with student government at Molloy.  She was heavily involved with organizing college activities and received many high distinctions in her role. “Two of my proudest accomplishments were receiving the Member of the Year award for Student Government and the Molloy Leadership award at graduation. Those two moments are forever etched in my brain. Whenever I struggle with work, I think back to those moments and remember that hard work truly pays off.”  One of her fondest memories with student government is the Halloween Party in 2008.  “We usually brought in about 40 students in years past, but the year my committee planned it, we had over 300 people in attendance, Molloy Student Government’s biggest event. It was all due in part to collaboration, which is what I bring to my job today. We collaborated with many clubs that night and saw how that benefitted the event. I am ALL about collaboration. “

A few months before graduation, Mary realized she wanted to pursue a career in higher education.  With the guidance of Steve Ostendorff (former Director of Campus Life) and Bob Houlihan (Vice President of Student Affairs), she applied and was accepted to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.  There were several tools she learned at Molloy that helped her with her graduate studies.  “I learned at Molloy to never be afraid to ask a question in class. I always had my hand up during my classes at Molloy. This showed I had a true interest in the class and generated discussion. After a final exam in grad school, my professor took me aside and said, “Thank you for always smiling at me while I taught. I always looked to you during class to see that reassurance!  She then took me out to breakfast! Always be nice to your professor and build that relationship!”  After a year at the University of Pennsylvania, Mary received an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education.

As previously stated, Mary is currently the Assistant Director of Student Activities at Salve Regina University where she handles several job functions in a fast paced atmosphere. “Within my office, I am the lead programmer. I coordinate over 100 events a year, collaborate with different departments campus wide, co-run orientation, advise the Campus Activities Board and co-advise The Mosaic (the student run newspaper). I plan leadership trainings and created the first Spring Weekend at Salve as well as their first “twitter challenge”. My usual work day involves juggling all of these jobs with students coming to visit, impromptu meetings, and planning events all with a smile!”

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With the fall semester in full swing, Mary offered advice to incoming freshmen majoring in communications.  “Sit in the first two rows, ask lots of questions, realize your professor is there for YOU and wants you to learn, and take different classes in the curriculum to see what you like most about communications. Once you figure out an area you like, look for internships early. Also, get involved on campus! You need to be a well-rounded individual to be hired and you never know the connections you will make!”

Speaking of Internships, Mary offered valuable advice for communications students before you begin working at the internship location. “Give it your all. Go above and beyond when you can, but also realize you deserve some boundaries and if you feel like you are being taken advantage of, speak up. I personally had a difficult time at my internship but it was a blessing in disguise because it made me realize I need to take a different path”.

In closing, for those students about to graduate, keep Mary’s closing thoughts with you as you start the next chapter of your life.  “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. There is always a job for what you are passionate about. Never lose sight of your dreams.”

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