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Molly Thompson '13: F&M Helped Her Blaze New Trails

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  • From her Maryland home, Molly Thompson '13 surveyed colleges around the country and found what she wanted and loved at Franklin & Marshall College. (Photo By Melissa Hess)

A profile of Molly Thompson '13 is part I of "Faces of the Class of 2013," a series on the academic and extracurricular interests of graduating seniors.

Hometown: Chestertown, Md.
Academic Major: Sociology

As the youngest of five sisters, raised on a Maryland dairy farm, Molly Thompson ’13 watched as three of them stayed near home to attend state colleges. She decided to blaze another path, and in the process found what she was looking for -- Franklin & Marshall College, and a love of sociology.

After researching dozens of schools, large and small, she narrowed her selection to 25, with F&M among them. Afterward, Thompson and her family passed through Lancaster on the way to their Canadian summerhouse when they decided to drive by F&M.

As they started up College Avenue, Thompson said she knew right then that F&M was her choice, though her mother cautioned that she should reserve judgment until she had seen the college.

"I just felt it," Thompson said. "I really thought, ‘This is the place.'"

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Thompson and her parents later returned to tour the school, further convincing her that F&M was where she wanted to be. Right after the tour, they visited another area college. "We left halfway through the tour," she said.

Thompson came to F&M undecided about her major, but in the second semester of her first year she took "SOC 100," and she knew sociology was what she wanted to study. "I totally fell in love with it," she said.

Thompson said she found rewarding academic challenges in her courses, such as the 25-page paper she did in her Women's and Gender Studies seminar on "Sex and the Law." Her topic was the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities that receive federal funds to report crimes that occur on or near their campuses.

Her work involved interviewing campus administrators, including Janet Masland, director of Sexual Assault Services at F&M's Appel Health Services. The interviews gave her insights into the administration and life of a college, she said.

Thompson's oral presentation drew strong interest from her fellow students for her analysis of crime and the response to crime on campuses around the country.

"I fielded a lot of questions after that presentation," she said.

The extracurricular activities Thompson pursued -- Alpha Phi Sorority, Blue & White Society, Weis College House Assembly of Peers, Diplomatic Corps, and the Public Safety Task Force -- helped her grow personally and academically.

"Alpha Phi was definitely the best extracurricular activity that I enrolled in," she said. "It provided me with so many leadership opportunities."

It also helped Thompson explore and broaden her horizons while maintaining her family roots as the daughter of a dairy farmer on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

"My best friend is still my best friend, but that second call I make is to an Alpha Phi (sister)," she said.

Her work as orientation planner on the Assembly of Peers at Weis House furthered her growth, allowing her to build relationships with students and administrators.

"People are so accepting here," Thompson said. "It helped me to accept myself."

Thompson leaves F&M after graduation to work in rural Pennsylvania as a college counselor for the National College Advising Corps, but she plans to seek a post-graduate degree with the intention of one day working as a college administrator.

"In my dream world I would work here at F&M," she said.