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Senior learns to lead through experiences

Before a Purdue Foundation Student Board (PFSB) meeting, Molly Grotjan was meeting with another student who was new to the board. The new student was nervous about interacting with Purdue alumni and donors, since it had been a while since in-person networking took place. Grotjan smiled, reassured the new student, and explained that most alumni really want to connect with current Purdue students and hear about their Boilermaker experiences.

"Our Purdue donors and alumni cherish the time they have with current students,” Grotjan told the new student. “All you need to be is yourself!"

Grotjan, a senior agribusiness: agribusiness management major from Zionsville, Indiana, knows the value of helping new students. For her, being a mentor is an important aspect of being a student leader, and leadership is about giving back.

Molly Grotjan Molly Grotjan, a senior agribusiness: agribusiness management major from Zionsville, Indiana, wants to grow in lead in as many different ways as possible. One way she did that was by becoming president of the Purdue Foundation Student Board. Photo by Hannah Deno.

“So many people have invested in me and made me a better person,” she said. “I want to be able to return the favor and do the same for those younger individuals.” 

People investing in her started early, Grotjan said. She participated in 4-H and described leaders who took the time to help her with her projects. Those experiences left such an impression that she wanted to continue learning and helping at Purdue.

“I wanted to see if I could participate in similar opportunities to make Purdue feel familiar,” Grotjan said.

So that’s what she set out to do. Her ultimate goal was to find out how she was going to be able to grow and lead in the best ways possible. Since her freshman year, Grotjan has become involved in many Purdue organizations like PFSB, whose members are ambassadors for Purdue’s philanthropic initiatives and stewards to alumni and donors, according to their website.

Grotjan said that serving on PFSB shaped and developed her leadership skills the most. One of the most important things she learned was the value of making connections.

“PFSB has helped me to understand Purdue from a different perspective,” Grotjan said. “It has helped me understand and make connections with donors and alumni, while giving me both a professional and personal Purdue family that I can stay connected with.”

Beyond her connections, Grotjan said being a leader involves doing more than just showing up. She had to work at everything and invest her time. That investment paid off before college was even over.

“When I think back to some things that I think may have helped me during my time here at Purdue, I think dedication to the project or task and the time that it required,” Grotjan said.

With everything she has done over her college career, Grotjan has set herself up to take her experiences and achievements into her future after college. Everyone who has been a part of her journey has prepared and invested in her to the fullest.

Grotjan said she believes she will continue to be a leader in her career and her community. She would like to continue to be involved in agriculture and, more importantly, 4-H.

“Purdue has taught me to give back and serve the community in which we live, so for sure, I will be taking with me wherever I go,” Grotjan said.

Find out more

Purdue Agricultural Economics

Purdue Foundation Student Board

Indiana 4-H

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Hannah Deno is a student writer majoring in agricultural communication in Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication

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