Alumni Spotlight: Molly Seidel

Author: Rachel Novick

Molly Seidel

For 2016 Notre Dame graduate Molly Seidel, the interdisciplinary focus of the Sustainability Minor was a perfect fit in an academic career that already sought to connect the humanities and sciences.

Seidel—a four-time NCAA individual national champion in cross-country and track and field—supplemented her anthropology major with coursework in environmental science before adding the sustainability minor.

Her capstone project for the minor brought together her environmental anthropology work with her passion for sustainability. A Wisconsin native, Seidel examined the Ice Age Trail, which stretches 1,200 miles across her home state and is run by the National Park Service in partnership with the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

Seidel worked with the alliance on trail building and community outreach projects in summer 2015 and wanted to study how the trail affects perspectives on the environment and motivates people to protect natural resources in the surrounding areas.

“I was amazed by how the trail brings people together and encourages greater environmental sustainability,” she said, “and seeing this made me want to investigate the positive effects that the trail has on its users.”

After Notre Dame, Seidel plans to launch a career in sustainable business development, potentially focusing on product design and environmental management. Her coursework and research experiences in both the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science have opened a lot of doors, she said, along with giving her the opportunity to study what she loves.

“Having the flexibility to explore my love of science and my love of the liberal arts has been a priceless experience,” Seidel said. “I’m very grateful I was able to have that opportunity here.”

Adapted from an article by Tessa Bangs at on June 29, 2016.