Alumni Spotlight: Molly Prosser, Graduate of the MFA Program

Dalyce Wilson - April 01, 2014

Molly Prosser, Graduate of Carlow's MFA Poetry Program
Molly Prosser, Graduate of the MFA Program, with her bigger-than-life pup, Keith Richards, in their office at ModCloth

“I thought I would be doing writing or marketing and business communication, and then my life just took a turn.”

Molly Prosser is the self-motivated Director of Visual Merchandise at the popular online fashion company ModCloth. Although this successful businesswoman seems to have found her niche, she didn’t always know that she would end up working in the fashion industry. Prosser, a graduate of Carlow University’s MFA program, has traveled the world in search of a professional career suitable enough for her ambitious spirit.

“It kind of just happened to me, which happens sometimes in life. I just always loved fashion, especially the vintage aesthetic, but I never thought I would be working in retail; I had always been focused on academia,” says Prosser who had worked as both a guest speaker and lecturer for the University of Pittsburgh and Point Park. Prosser also spent time at both Carlow University and the University of Pittsburgh working as an adjunct professor, advisor, and administrator.

After an Undergraduate career at Penn State studying writing, Prosser felt lost and overwhelmed by the lack of options for graduates with a writing degree. “I knew that writing was something that I was really good at, but when I thought about my options, I would say to myself, ‘Okay I could be a teacher, I could be a journalist, or maybe I’ll be a lawyer?’ Because for the scope of what I thought I could do I thought those were my only options; and I really didn’t want to do any of that.”

Graduate of the MFA in Poetry Program, Molly Prosser in ModCloth's warehouse
Molly Prosser, 
Director of Visual Merchandise at ModCloth, in the company's massive warehouse near Pittsburgh

After taking odd jobs in California and the Pittsburgh area, Prosser came to Carlow University and got involved in the graduate MFA program and focused on poetry. The program allowed her to travel to Ireland. While abroad, Prosser’s outgoing personality helped her to network and make some life-long friendships along the way.

After attending grad school and spending some time in corporate America, it was apparent to Prosser that businesses were looking beyond MBA to more creative degrees which resulted in a collaborative effort between her and other associates to create a professional presentation on how the MFA has become the new MBA.

Prosser insists that the learning environment at Carlow University has helped her beyond the realm of academia, “The MFA and being educated at Carlow, really taught me how to collaborate and work in groups. It encouraged a lot of creative teams, which is what I do now. We all had to work together while being completely willing to lay it all on the table.” 

While at Carlow University, Prosser was surrounded by many influential women who became her role models. “For years when I worked at Carlow, I had two of the most amazing bosses I’ve ever had. One of them is Dr. Sandie Turner and the other is Dr. Martha Ezzell; they are seriously two of the most powerful feminist thinkers that I have been able to work with. I also need to mention Ellie Wymard, the director of the MFA program at Carlow; she was my beacon. She is a fantastic, classy, smart woman,” says Prosser of the women who helped her navigate her way around the professional world. 

Molly Prosser, Graduate of Carlow's MFA in Poetry Program with Keith Richards
Molly Prosser, Graduate of the MFA Program, with the always handsome and always tiny, Keith Richards, in the studios at ModCloth

When hearing friends or coworkers express their frustrations with past jobs and work environments, Prosser is always taken aback due to her own personal experiences. Since graduating from college, Prosser has only had female bosses. “I would always ask myself, ‘why do I never have that many issues with my job?’ and then I realize that it’s probably partly because I’m surrounded by women,” says Prosser on her experiences in the workplace.

Prosser attributes her overall positive attitude towards her job to the female pioneers who have set such great examples for how to be a positive leader. “To manage creative individuals and workflow, it takes a particular personality; I tend to be very diplomatic. I feel like I get better work from my team if I let them come up with the ideas, and then I go back and pick what I think will work best. You have to be good with collaboration, have very thick skin, and be very comfortable giving and getting criticism, which I’m really good at,” says Prosser on her current position at ModCloth.

Prosser is truly a hardworking and inspiring force to be reckoned with who believes that it’s okay to be unsure of where your life will lead. With just a passion for vintage-style clothing and an adventurous spirit, Prosser has managed to work her way up and conquer the doubts she once had as an undergraduate student.

“Always say ‘yes’ until you know what you want—if someone offers you a job that sounds a little crazy, but it would give you the opportunity to move to Barcelona for a while, then just say yes!”