Shannon McLoughlin ’23 is a deeply committed member of several campus communities. She spends her free time on the rugby field, teaching fellow students about investing and editing the Wesleyan Business Review. McLoughlin said these myriad activities shared one important commonality — a community centered on mutual respect, support and kindness. McLoughlin sat down with The Argus to talk about these communities, noting their impact on her journey as a student and as a person.
The Argos: Why do you think you were nominated for WesCeleb?
Shannon McLoughlin: I assume it was one of my roommates [who nominated me], but no one has confessed. So I assume they’re just good liars. Or maybe yes [because of] one of the organizations in which I am involved.
A: About these organizations, let’s talk about rugby first. How did you come to the team?
SM: My guide was actually a rugby player. I played soccer and basketball in high school and wanted to try something different. So I went to the first training. [Being a] The newbie was really scary but everyone was super nice and very welcoming and really willing to teach. I just feel like it was a good environment. I finally fell in love with the sport.
A: What about rugby do you love so much? What still interests you today, four years later?
SM: The culture. When we play against other teams, we all end up singing drinking songs together. We all support each other within the team, but it’s also a very good environment outside of the practices and everyone is happy to help [each other].
A: What did the rugby team captain teach you?
SM: The other captains and I plan each training session. We also schedule trips to tournaments, reach EMTs and all of that stuff. There are four of us and it’s honestly impossible to do it alone. I really learned the importance of knowing people’s strengths and helping each other.
A: Let’s pan a little. Tell us a bit about investing and what got you into it.
SM: I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school. I’m majoring in Economics and was introduced to fund my freshman year and I’ve found this to be a really good career path for my interests. I really like to think about world events. This summer I worked at a bank and looked at emerging markets. So we looked at what is happening politically in Chile, for example, or in all other countries. I think that stuff is really interesting.
A: What do you do as Co-President of the Investment Group?
SM: Every week we create a slide deck where we teach people something [things] like what you need to do to deal with finance, networking, resumes and then technical things. Last week we gave an introduction to company valuation and valuation. I knew nothing about finance coming after Wesleyan. I didn’t think I could fund it. So I really like having the opportunity to tell it [first years] and sophomores: “I know it seems impossible, but anyone can do it.”
A: Was there a specific person or group of people that drew you to investing or to Wesleyan Investment Group?
SM: One of the earlier Wesleyan investments [Group] Leader. I found the finance area intimidating and she was just very relatable and very helpful. She spoke to me about the lessons [and] job interviews. She was incredible. And I hope that I can do that for others.
A: Thinking about your time both in and out of class, do you have any advice for current or prospective students?
SM: Little did I know that coming here, I would be doing the two big things I’m involved in. Don’t be intimidated or scared of new spaces. The people here just want to help you figure out where you fit in. So just try what you can.
A: That is beautiful. Do you have any key themes or learnings that you will take away from your time at Wesleyan?
SM: Obligation. I ended up leading all the main activities I participate in and most of them I’ve been doing ever since [first] Year. You can do too much here. It can become overwhelming and you can lose yourself. When you’re truly committed to the few activities you do, it makes them so much more meaningful.
A: Are there any similarities you see between the communities you belong to on campus?
SM: I feel like the culture and people’s interests are very different in the different spaces I’m in on campus. But in all of them the people are very committed and enjoy working together.
A: Besides finance and rugby, were there any professors or individuals on campus that really shaped your experience here?
SM: I am a data analysis minor, and [Associate Professor of the Practice in Quantitative Analysis] Valerie Nazzaro is just amazing. I have had TA under her for two years now. It’s really cool how [in her class]people learn how to code in a non-intimidating environment. … And then [Assistant Professor of Psychology] Royette Dubar. This is the lab I’m working in right now. She really helped me see what kind of interesting research is possible [the field of] Psychology.
A: Do you have plans for the future after leaving Wesleyan?
SM: Next summer I’ll be working at Citibank doing sales and trading in New York. In the longer future I might like to go back to school to study psychology or something, but that’s definitely up in the air.
A: If you had to give up rugby and play another sport, what would you play?
SM: Frisbee disk. Some of my really good friends are captains on the team and it seems like a really nice space to be a part of.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Akhil Joondeph can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.