Seeking Connections

Marissa Faith Folk '08

Marissa Faith Folk ’08, Senior Change Management Consultant, IBM

Major: Economics

What I love most about my work: I love change and a good challenge. I love that my job allows me the ability to travel, work with different industries (government, education, aerospace) and connect with individuals from all walks of life. In the last three years alone, I’ve had the chance to travel to Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.

Major challenges: I have to learn new industries all of the time. I have to understand the policies, laws, past performances and information surrounding an industry with each new project. For example, when I worked for an aerospace client in Indianapolis, I needed to read and learn as much information about airports, security systems that run airports and airplanes. When I worked for a Department of Homeland Security client, I had to become well-versed in immigration policies and laws. Now, I’m working on an education project in the state of California, so understanding the different industries and how protocol is different for everyone can be a bit challenging, but also extremely educational at the same time.

How a Dickinson education prepared me: My time at Dickinson taught me how to manage my time wisely and efficiently, how to build solid relationships with the people with whom I cross paths and how to adapt quickly to changing environments. In my job, I work with people across different time zones and in different lines of work. We all have to work together to solve complex problems for some of the industry’s largest clients, and my educational background has given me the keys to be successful and make things happen for the greater good.

Why I chose Dickinson: It was just a feeling I had. When my mom and I drove up to the campus for my interview, and I saw the beautiful scenery and everyone out on the red Adirondack chairs, I said to her, “This is the college I want to go to—this is the place I want to be.”

My favorite professor: There are so many, but I’d have to say Amy Wlodarski. I had her for a World Music class, and she became a friend and mentor for me through that class.

My favorite activity at Dickinson: I really enjoyed planning the events for the senior class. It was enjoyable and rewarding to come up with new ideas and work with a great team to give our senior class a worthwhile last year at Dickinson. It allowed me to really connect with more people and build additional friendships with people I may not have had the opportunity to meet.

My favorite spot on campus: Hands down, without fail, I loved the caf! My favorite part was going for brunch with all of my friends on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The food and people at the cafeteria never let me down. Second is Morgan Field during the spring!

What I’m most proud of at Dickinson: Becoming the senior class president. My first year was a tough adjustment for me, but seeing how far I came in those three years and then becoming a very successful class president was probably my most proud moment.

What I’m most proud of today: Accomplishing everything I set out to do—not one thing is too big or too small in my eyes. The fact that I’ve overcome a disability and was able to attend one of the top liberal-arts colleges despite financial hardship is something I’m proud of. Too many people quit when life gets tough.

How I stay connected to Dickinson: I stay connected through different opportunities and services in the admissions and Career Center offices. I enjoy interviewing potential candidates for admission, and I’m always willing to talk to a fellow Dickinsonian about career development or life after college. Beyond that, I’m lucky because I have a huge network of friends, so that keeps me connected, and I do my best to stay in touch with the professors and staff I engaged with regularly while a student.

What Seek Connections means to me: It’s building meaningful relationships with everyone you meet—not with the intention of seeing how they can help you, but seeing how your combined force can make a difference. I’m a people person by nature, and I love to connect people on common grounds. We are all planted on this earth for a greater purpose, and I use my skills, knowledge and personality to enhance the lives of those around me while I strive to be a better person each day, too. No matter how big or small the change, it’s always worth it.

Published August 22, 2011