“They went out with their boots on.”
That is what Yvonne Hude had to say about her daughter, Molly Hude, and the two women Molly was traveling with when she died in Belize last Tuesday. “That means they crammed so much in; they weren’t afraid of adventure.”
A 2011 College graduate, Molly was an archaeology and anthropology double major and linguistics minor, a member of the Philomathean Society and a brother of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity during her time at Penn. She finished her degree in just seven semesters.
This summer, Molly had been completing her master’s degree in archaeology from the University of Athens in Greece. On July 2, she and two other graduate students had just completed an archaeological dig in Belize as the final component of their thesis research.
The three women were in a taxi on the way to the airport to fly back to the United States when the taxi driver “lost control of the vehicle causing it to run to the left side of the highway and collide into [a] bus,” according to a statement by the Belize Police Department.
An only child who was raised in Slatington, Pa. and attended Northern Lehigh High School, Molly is survived by her parents and her fiancé, Michael Kislow, who was her high school sweetheart.
“Michael would’ve been the best son-in-law we could’ve hoped for,” Yvonne Hude said. “I’m more sad for him than I am for me.”
Yvonne Hude described her daughter as “an extremely giving person. She cared about everybody.”
Yvonne Hude explained that Molly had a sponsor child in Guatemala. In place of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Children’s International, the organization through which Molly sponsored the 8-year-old girl.
“It was an honor for us to be her parents,” Yvonne Hude said. “She was just a trip, she really was.”
After Molly’s death on Tuesday, friends and acquaintances filled her Facebook with stories about her kindness and spirit and pictures of the postcards she frequently sent when traveling.
2011 College graduate and former Daily Pennsylvanian photographer William Staffeld, among others, recounted Molly’s inclusivity. Molly was one of the first people that Staffeld met on campus. She facebook messaged him after seeing him at several Pilam events, inviting him to hang out at the house.
“She was the first person I would look to introduce to any prospective brother because of her warm and welcoming attitude,” he remembered in an email.
Molly was an avid student who was passionate about her major, as well as music and dancing. According to Staffeld, she wrote her final thesis about her experience at Burning Man, an annual festival held in Nevada, conducting a study about identity and personality formation.
Yvonne Hude noted that the thesis was in response to a National Geographic article that characterized Burning Man as a bastion of sex and drug use. “Basically, the result of her study was that [Molly] dispelled the comments by National Geographic,” she recalled. “It was about artistic expression, it was about several other things.”
Burning Man was not her only travel experience, however. Besides her recent research trips to Belize, Molly spent a year as an exchange student in Germany during high school and joined Penn anthropology professor Harold Dibble on an archaeological dig in Morocco in 2010.
Anthropology professor Louise Krasniewicz remembers Molly an “active and engaged” student, who approached her on the first day of her “Movies and Mythology” course to express her excitement about the subject.
As part of the course, which discussed fan culture, Molly and her classmates planned “Harry Potter Day”, a public event in the Penn Museum, which attracted thousands of visitors. With characteristic enthusiasm, Molly volunteered to be one of the main coordinators.
“She jumped into every innovative project she developed with tremendous enthusiasm and I hope she will be remembered that way,” Krasniewicz wrote in an email.
“I will always remember Molly with a big smile on her face, pulling the sweetest moves on the dance floor, and trying to cheer up whomever she knew was having a hard time,” wrote Staffeld.
“She is someone I can say enjoyed her life plentifully, and who did the best she could to improve the lives of those around her.”
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