Becoming Part of the NU Family
Mollie Mars is a current graduate student pursuing her M.S. in Sport Management. She is also working as a Graduate Resident Director and a Departmental Scholar for the College of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management.
Moving halfway across the country from Nevada to New York to follow both a degree and a job was no easy decision to make, but Niagara has made me feel welcomed and that I have a home from the very first day I stepped foot on campus.
Hi, my name is Mollie Mars, and I am from Henderson, Nevada where I received my undergraduate dual degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in Business Management and Marketing. You may be wondering how a tiny school like Niagara came on my radar and that is thanks to my parents. Both of my parents grew up in the Western New York area, specifically in North Tonawanda and Williamsville, so they are the ones who put Niagara University in my mind and encouraged me to apply since I would have the opportunity to be with family that I typically don’t see. I am so happy I ultimately made the decision to come here because it allowed me to have quality time with my grandma where we made countless memories and had hundreds of laughs before she passed that otherwise would not have been an opportunity.
While at Niagara, I am obtaining my Master’s in Sport Management. What I love about this program compared to the same degree at other schools, is that Niagara has a college dedicated to Sport Management, which is the College of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management. To me, this means professors are going to be more educated in their craft, and I have found this to be so true. From the classes I have taken, it is easy to see that the professors are dedicated to sharing their insights and knowledge to their students. They want to see every single student succeed because at Niagara University, you are more than just a number. Instead, you are an individual with a purpose and a passion that with a little help can be tapped into to allow you to excel in the direction you would like to take your education, whether that be research or field work.
Because of the small class sizes, I have been able to not only excel in the classroom, but also create meaningful and intentional relationships with my professors and other faculty. These relationships have led me to helping professors work on their research or complete work with outside organizations. If you take the time to get to know your professors and push yourself academically to stand out from the crowd, then you too could have a similar experience. I have discovered that Niagara is a school where you get what you put into your degree. If you ask for additional opportunities and truly try to immerse yourself in your degree, then you can have an absolute amazing experience where everyone is rooting for you. This has been one of my favorite things about obtaining my M.S. in Sports Management at Niagara University.
Other than my degree, the initial reason I came out to Niagara was for a Graduate Resident Director (GRD) position in the Office of Residence Life. In undergrad, I was a Senior Resident Assistant, so this position was the next step in order to develop myself professionally in Student Affairs. Other than sports, this has been a huge passion of mine. Being able to help students from all different backgrounds and be a supervisor to my staff has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. I have learned who I am as a supervisor and leader and the philosophy that I like to follow when guiding others. It has humbled me when dealing with crisis situations and using my knowledge and resources to triage and help the student no matter what. ResLife was an immediate family for me here at Niagara University and I feel like this role is one small way I can give back to all that Niagara has done for me during my time here.
Niagara has a unique way of bringing people together. Because of my GRD role and a duty call I had received, I unfortunately missed an informational meeting pertaining to the degree I am obtaining. I reached out to Dean Niland in hopes of learning about the information I had missed, and I ended up landing myself with a Departmental Scholarship where I work for the Dean’s office in the College of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management. Through this, I have helped with marketing material, class project components, and the accreditation process for the College of Hospitality just to name a few. Going to work in this office are some of the highest points of my week due to the staff dynamic and autonomy that is given to me. In addition to my ResLife family, this office and those that work there have made me feel like part of a family, which is exactly what I need when I am so far away from home. Not only has this position allowed me to develop various transferable and soft skills, but it has allowed me to build a stronger network that will help me professionally. I cannot wait to see what next semester has in store for me through various opportunities and experiences that will continue to be presented to me.