Emerging Professional of the Year Award Winner – Molly Hansen
What do you love most about working at Bunker Hill Community College?
What I love most about working at Bunker Hill Community College is the drive and perseverance of the student population. Each student I have met shows dedication to their education and pursuit of learning. While operating the DISH Food Pantry, I have had the opportunity to serve and get to know students who come from all different backgrounds and career pathways—and they are all proud to be Bunker Hill Community College students. Additionally, the support for basic needs initiatives at Bunker Hill is unlike anything I have seen at any other institution. The staff and administration are not only acutely aware of the issue, but make intentional efforts to support students who are struggling with food and basic needs insecurity. I am proud to work at BHCC for my first full-time position!
Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?
My passion for higher education started at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where I completed my undergraduate degree. I saw firsthand how food and housing insecurity impacted my classmates’ ability to complete assignments, pay attention in class, and be an active member of the college community. Through my work with UA Campus Pantry, I was able to assist my peers with this issue by distributing food and hygiene items on a bi-weekly basis. In addition, my involvement with Residence Life, Office of Admissions, Career Services, and the Women’s Resource Center made it clear to me that working with college students was something that I was passionate about. When I started my graduate program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I began researching ways in which basic needs insecurity impacted the college student experience. This led me to write my master’s thesis on the creation, management, and sustainability of college food pantries. In my current role, I hope to assist students who are currently facing food insecurity, while also being an advocate for policy change on the state and local level.
What advice would you offer to new professionals who are starting their first professional position?
My advice to new student affairs professionals is to be as intentional as possible in getting to know your campus community. Take time to meet with various offices around campus to introduce yourself—these personal connections are extremely helpful when planning collaborative efforts. Get to know the student population by reaching out to Student Government Association and other student-led groups, and take advice and feedback about your initiatives from them seriously!