Shannon McLoughlin ’23 is a deeply committed member of several campus communities. She spends her free time on the rugby field, teaches fellow students about investing, and edits the Wesleyan Business Review. McLoughlin said these myriad activities had one important commonality—a community centered around mutual respect, support, and kindness. McLoughlin sat down with The Argus to discuss these communities and noted their impact on her journey as a student and person.
The Argus: Why do you think you were nominated for WesCeleb?
Shannon McLoughlin: I assume it was one of my housemates [who nominated me], but no one has confessed to it. So I assume they’re just good liars. Or maybe it’s [because of] one of the organizations I’m involved in.
A: About those organizations, let’s talk about rugby first. How did you get involved with the team?
SM: My orientation leader was actually a rugby player. I played soccer and basketball in high school, and I wanted to try something different. So I went to the first practice. [Being a] freshman was really scary, but everyone was super nice and really welcoming and really willing to teach. I just feel like it was a good environment. I ended up falling in love with the sport.
A: What about rugby do you love so much? What keeps you interested in playing now, four years later?
SM: The culture. When we play against other teams, we all sing drinking songs together at the end. Within the team, we all support each other, but even outside of the practices, it’s a very good environment and everyone likes to support [each other].
A: What has being captain of the rugby team taught you?
SM: The other captains and I plan each practice. We also plan rides to tournaments, reach out to EMTs, and all that kind of stuff. There’s four of us, and it’s honestly impossible to do by yourself. I’ve really come to appreciate the importance of learning what people’s strengths are and helping each other out.
A: Let’s pivot a bit. Tell us a bit about investing, and what drew you to that.
SM: I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated high school. I am an economics major, and got introduced to finance my freshman year, and I realized that it’s a really good career path, in terms of my interests. I really like thinking about world events. This summer, I worked at a bank, and I worked on emerging markets. So we were looking at what was happening politically in Chile, for example, or all different countries. I think that that stuff is really interesting.
A: What do you do as a co-president of the Investment Group?
SM: Each week, we create a slide deck where we teach people about [things] like what you need to do to get into finance, networking, resumes, and then technical stuff. Last week, we did an intro to valuation and valuing companies. I didn’t know anything about finance coming to Wesleyan. I didn’t think I could do finance. So I really like to have the opportunity to tell [first years] and sophomores, “I know this seems impossible, but anyone can do it.”
A: Was there a specific person or group of people that drew you to investing or the Wesleyan Investment Group?
SM: One of the previous Wesleyan Investment [Group] leaders. I found the finance space intimidating, and she was just really relatable, and very willing to help. She would talk to me about classes [and] interviews. She was amazing. And I hope that I can do that for others.
A: Thinking about your time both in class and outside of classes, do you have any advice for current or prospective students?
SM: The two big things I’m involved in, I had no idea I would be doing, coming here. Try not to be intimidated or scared by new spaces. People here do just want to help you find where you fit in. So just try whatever you can.
A: That’s beautiful. Do you have any major themes or learnings that you will take away from your time at Wesleyan?
SM: Commitment. I ended up being a leader in all of the main activities I am a part of, and I have been doing most of them since [first] year. You can do too much stuff here. It can get overwhelming and you can lose yourself. When you’re really committed to the few activities you do, it makes them so much more meaningful.
A: Are there any commonalities that you see between the communities you are a part of on campus?
SM: I feel like the culture and what people are interested in is very different between the different spaces I am in on campus. But in all of them, the people are very committed and like to work together.
A: Beyond finance and rugby, have there been any professors or individuals on campus that have really shaped your experience here?
SM: I’m a data analysis minor, and [Associate Professor of the Practice in Quantitative Analysis] Valerie Nazzaro is just amazing. I’ve TA’d 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. That’s the lab I’m working in right now. She really helped me see what kind of interesting research can be done in [the field of] psychology.
A: Do you have any future plans lined up for after you leave Wesleyan?
SM: Next summer I’m going to be working at Citibank, doing sales and trading in New York. In the longer future, I might like to go back to school for psych or something, but that is definitely up in the air.
A: If you had to give up rugby and play a different sport, what would you play?
SM: Frisbee. 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 email@example.com.