Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award is presented annually to a member of the alumni community who graduated in the last 15 years and whose professional accomplishments, service to alma mater, or selfless and caring work to benefit society are distinctive.

2020 Recipient

Molly Burke ’10

Molly Burke '10 is co-founder and CEO of Cycle Connect, an organization founded to distribute bicycles to rural African communities to improve the standard of living of local residents. On a lease-to-own basis, bicycles are provided to those in need to help them access markets, clean water, health care and schools. Cycle Connect increases income for smallholder farmers by offering productive asset-financing in the last mile.

Burke has led Cycle Connect from a start-up project to a fully operational enterprise. Under her leadership, Cycle Connect has grown across two different cities in northern Uganda, serving over 8,000 clients and supported by a team of 35 full-time staff. She led the organization to grow the portfolio of products, moving it from a lease-to-own bicycle distributor to one that serves multiple tools for farmers to pay back over time. Her passion is pushing the boundaries of exploration and challenging the impossible to further unleash the potential of smallholder farmers in Uganda.

Since inception, Cycle Connect has disbursed over 7,000 loans in Uganda, increasing income by upwards of 30%. The organization continues to double in clients served and most recently added a new branch. To ensure that Cycle Connect continuously adapts to new challenges and circumstances, Burke established Cycle Connect's Innovations Department to continue to serve changing needs.

Before transitioning full time to Cycle Connect, Burke worked at SKDKnickerbocker in New York as an associate, assisting with logistics and office coordination, including work on the successful passage of the 2011 New York State Marriage Equality Bill.

Burke is a 2019 Social Entrepreneur member of the Miller Center's GBSBI program, 2015 SHONA fellow, National Geographic Traveler of Year, 2009 Morris K. Udall recipient and was named "Person of the Year" by The Bucknellian in 2010. 

Molly has remained engaged with Bucknell on several fronts since graduation. She served on the Bucknell Professional Network Advisory Board and has been instrumental in the entrepreneurship movement on campus and among alumni. Molly also spearheaded several club events in the Washington, D.C., area and she served on her Reunion giving committee and as a class volunteer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with her husband, Kevin.

Young Alumni Award

The Center for Alumni & Family Engagement


Alumni House
90 University Avenue


8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.