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Profile: Mary Malooley


Mary Malooley has a flair for working with and talking to people, letting her voice and posture slip into different characters to emphasize a point.

The Online Human Resource Management (HRM) master’s program student comes from a theater background, with a cache of dramatic skills she has put to good use in her 11 years at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

She started working there between her junior and senior years at Indiana University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Theatre and Drama. Her training comes in handy time and again. She’s appeared in photos and commercials for the museum.

“See, this is where my theater degree has taken me,” Malooley tells her dad, who earned his master’s in Industrial Administration at Krannert.

Malooley has steadily taken on more administrative duties, touching most business aspects, including maintaining budget reports and managing the department credit card. She is currently the museum’s Interpretation Information Coordinator, supporting staff.

“Right now, talent acquisition is where my passion is,” she says. “Also, I’ve talked to a benefits administrator – there’s a whole other world there, too.”

Her aptitude for human resource management seems to have developed naturally, as she took on more of those tasks – and really enjoyed them.

She was prescreening job applicants and setting up phone interviews and realized, “I want to do this more.”

“I would schedule the final interviews, but I really wanted to be in on them,” Malooley says. She realized a master’s in HR would equip her for the future. She wants to, among other things, hire for entry-level, high turn-over positions.

Malooley cut her teeth at the museum on the floor, interacting with visitors and playing characters in the museum’s interactive galleries. She played a paleontologist-in-training in a dinosaur exhibit, and wrote a program on natural mummification.

The museum staff want to encourage inspiration and curiosity in their visitors, she says. Their philosophy is that it’s okay for the staff to admit they don’t know the answer to a visitor’s question. Staff never claim to be experts, and don’t want people to leave with “a bag of knowledge” or a list of facts, Malooley says. The museum wants visitors to leave with a hunger to know more.


"Your professors want you to do well just as much as you want to do well."

Malooley also hungers to know more, and has found her online HRM program coursework challenging, particularly when she took two courses – Managing Behavior in Organizations and Talent Acquisition – in the same module.

She is thankful for the flexibility of the program.

“I haven’t had to do it yet, but knowing I can take a module off is comforting,” she says. The program’s learning management system, BrightSpace, is also helpful, she adds.

“BrightSpace breaks down everything. That little checkmark that is just so satisfying,” she says of completing an assignment.

While Purdue was her first choice, Malooley researched other HR programs. Now starting her third module in the online HRM, Malooley knows she found a good fit at Krannert. 

“Your professors want you to do well just as much as you want to do well,” she says. “And already I’ve been able to implement what I’ve learned into my career.”



She’s changed how hiring is done in the museum’s interpretation department, thanks to what she learned in her Talent Acquisition course. She introduced a new assessment tool for candidates. The weighted graph reflects what the department is looking for in an employee and the workplace’s values.

The museum has been supportive of her education, Malooley says, providing grade-dependent tuition assistance. Her boss and the museum’s CEO are excited about her upcoming course on diversity, equity and inclusion. They’ve asked Malooley to prepare a weekly presentation on what she’s learned in class.

Malooley sings the praises of Krannert staff, especially online program success coach Stacey Shanks, whose energy and friendliness put Malooley at ease. She was nervous about going back to school after being out for a decade.

At the start of her program, Malooley had an onboarding call with Shanks. Malooley took notes. Paid attention. And promptly forgot everything. And lost her notes. She had another call with Shanks, who walked her through all the material again. Shanks never even hinted at a “you should know this already” vibe, Malooley says.

She has made the most of her time in the program, taking an optional, virtual two-day professional development seminar on diversity, equity and inclusion between her program’s first and second modules. She also registered for an online women’s empowerment conference, but couldn’t attend in real-time. Shanks made sure Malooley got the recording. Malooley also has been asked to speak on a panel for incoming master’s students.

She does all this while working full-time at the museum and teaching theater for children one night a week. She leans on the fellow online students she met in orientation.

“I talk to them at least once a week,” Malooley says. “I have these friends, a support system, and we’ve never actually met in person.”