Molly Tracy -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

Molly Tracy

Molly Tracy -- 100 Alumni You Should Know


Her students call her “The Encyclopedia,” but graduate Molly Tracy says it’s her education from USAO that earned her the title.

“My students have taken to calling me "The Encyclopedia." I think it's a funny nickname, but I realize that my liberal arts education is probably the reason they came up with that, even though they may not realize it,” Tracy said. “Obviously I don't know everything, but my time at USAO taught me how to access resources, and how to think critically.

“At USAO, I felt at home because I was encouraged to learn, and to be creative. I was a curious person and an eager learner prior to attending college, but my time at USAO helped me to understand that those traits were strengths. Also, conversation starters! The World Thought sequence has given me a lot of material for social gatherings. I know that sounds silly, but it's just a reflection of how USAO's liberal arts model has enriched both my career and my life,” she said.

Tracy graduated from USAO in 2013 with a degree in political science. She is working toward an MPA with a focus on public management from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. “I coordinate the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) program at Highlander Charter School, and I am also the director of the after-school program for the Upper School.

“The ELO program provides our high school students an avenue to explore their interests in the context of the community. These experiences are credit bearing, driven by student interest and designed to assist students in cultivating 21st century skills. In addition, these experiences allow students to get to know themselves a little better prior to graduation. In my role with the after-school program, I design and plan academically rigorous and engaging programs for Highlander's middle school population,” Tracy said.

Tracy started at Highlander as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Her service was centered around working with the school staff to build the ELO program. “Highlander is the only school in Rhode Island that requires ELOs from graduation. Many schools in the area are modeling their program after ours.” Tracy also was appointed to the board for ACE Mentoring Rhode Island’s chapter this year to assist with curriculum consulting and student outreach. ACE RI operates out of RISD, and connects students with a people involved in the architecture, construction and engineering fields.

“My choice to serve AmeriCorps VISTA was influenced by my academic career at USAO,” she said. “Both Dr. Karjala (associate professor of political science) and Dr. Casey (professor of communication) were extremely helpful during my time as a student. They provided a nurturing learning environment in which I learned more about the world and myself, and this process led me to apply for AmeriCorps.”

While at USAO, Tracy was award the USAO Alumni Distinguished Graduate Award, served as the vice president of the Student Government Association and was the president and secretary of USAO’s honor society, Hypatia.

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