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For senior Madeline Maxwell, 2018 is guaranteed to be an exciting year. In May, she will graduate with a degree in insurance and risk management (IRM) and follow her dreams around the world. Madeline’s love to travel paired with her studies and internship experiences have prepared her for a career in international business, insurance or consulting. In the meantime, Madeline is brushing up on her German and enjoying her last semester at OC with her Comet connections.

Driven by her passion for soccer, Madeline was originally interested in attending Olivet College thanks to its robust athletics program, but one visit showed her there were opportunities around every corner on campus. She was attracted to the liberal arts curriculum and the well-rounded education available, but it was the chance to build relationships with professors and coaches that made OC the perfect fit for Madeline.

“The value of a relationship cannot be understated,” Madeline explained. “I knew that I wouldn’t just have professors, but that they would be my mentors and advocates for my future. Former IRM program director Carol Breed exemplified strong female leadership and inspired me through her success, and she helped me identify the person I wanted to become. Now, current director and assistant professor Tom Humphreys has taken over that support role and is always great about helping his students discover scholarships. We know we can count on him to be available to help with whatever we need.”

Madeline’s college journey has been anything but basic. Thanks to her strong relationships with professors and mentors, she was able to work with them to customize her schedule during her junior year. Out of thousands of applicants, Madeline scored a congressional fellowship with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals – a yearlong cultural immersion program studying, interning and living in Europe. While it wasn’t easy to leave her OC family behind, Madeline hopped on a plane destined for Germany supported by her network in Olivet.

“I studied German in high school and have some German ancestry which was a little push to choose Germany out of all the options in Europe. The program started with two months of intensive language training, then four months at a German university studying business, and ended with an internship, all while living with host families,” Madeline explained. “It was certainly the biggest challenge I faced in my life and can’t believe how far out of my comfort zone I went – and it was absolutely and undoubtedly worth it! It’s incredible how much a person can learn in a year.”

The highlight of Madeline’s fellowship was her internship serving Policen Direkt, a leader in the German traded endowment policy market and online insurance brokerage. Madeline worked as an “insurtech” research intern, studying international companies, entering information into databases and ultimately identifying potential startup ventures. She has continued to network and serve the company since returning to Michigan, and even lends her lingual skills as a translator for the company’s marketing team.

While Madeline may have not taken the typical approach to college, she hasn’t let that stop her from staying involved with campus life. As a member of the women’s soccer team, Madeline was part of the history-making 2017 season as the team earned the school record for most wins in a single season and the highest outright conference finish placing second. She also serves as a senior resident adviser and student admissions representative, in addition to singing in the college choir and being a fellow of the President’s Leadership Institute.

On top of that, Madeline is a very active member of Gamma Iota Sigma, the IRM professional fraternity at OC, and the OC Women’s Leadership Institute. Madeline missed the inaugural Cultivating Women Leaders (CWL) event, aimed to help female students unlock their full leadership potential, during her fellowship in Germany, but was overwhelmed with the positive response from the event when she returned and instantly knew she needed to get involved.

“My friends shared all of the awesome things about the event with me and I thought it sounded perfect. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the leaps Olivet College is taking to recognize and foster women’s leadership,” Madeline said excitedly. “Women’s leadership is really important, especially for students who want to work in the field of business where it is often overlooked. I also think another great aspect is that the program is designed to reach young women so they will have years to develop their skills before entering their careers.

“I’m currently in the OC ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program and on the planning committee for the second annual CWL event. I’m just so excited for the things we are learning in the leadership program and having it culminate at the event. I think it will allow women to collaborate on a really large scale and view each other’s perspectives in a neat way.”

Building relationships and a support system, such as the networking opportunities at CWL, is one of Madeline’s keys to having a successful college experience. “I think it’s important for freshmen to understand that you are coming to college for more than just a course of study, but for personal growth and development too,” Madeline explained. “OC has the resources and the network to be able to do that. Make friends and connections that challenge and push you, and do the same for them. It’s all about encouraging and supporting each other to succeed.”

Madeline plans to spend her last semester at OC solidifying her career goals and exploring job options. She is already pursuing several potential opportunities and can’t wait to see where she ends up. Wherever it is, Madeline knows she’ll be ready to face challenges and leave her comfort zone thanks to her education and leadership training.

Learn more about getting involved at OC by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu. Schedule a visit and request Madeline to be your tour guide to hear more about her journey firsthand.

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