Mary Steves

Major: Communications
Hometown: Escalon, CA
Class: Sophomore
Program Position: Coordinator | Freshman Leadership Opportunity (FLO)

How did you first get connected with FLO?
As a freshman last year, I saw some FLO staff tabling on campus, and was very interested in the program after talking with them. I loved what the program was about and what it had to offer. I went to an information session to learn more, and then I applied, was interviewed, and joined a group of 50 other freshmen. I had previous leadership experience with Future Farmers of America (FFA), so I thought I’d be a good fit. Plus, the program’s mission is something I really believe in, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to make my mark. After an amazing year-long experience with the program, I was able to move up into the role of coordinator for the program.

How would you describe your current role with FLO?
As the coordinator, I oversee the entire program. Some of my responsibilities include supervising five facilitators; organizing training and a retreat for all 50 participants; overseeing the budget; and monitoring participants to be sure they are all meeting the program requirements in order to earn credit. Another important part of the job is recruiting campus mentors for our shadowing program which starts each spring. I am able to mold the program to make the curriculum more relevant to the participants. We want to give students our best, so we try to be responsive to their needs by being innovative and creative with the program. Maintaining flexibility is important so that we can take advantage of learning opportunities that arise.

What does working for FLO do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
My participation in FLO has been the most integral part of me feeling at home at Chico State. It has allowed me to build meaningful connections, to enhance my professionalism, and to have a better understanding of making a commitment to something and not wavering. All these things are essential to creating a successful work environment. I’ve had the opportunity to meet student officers and other student leaders as well as campus administration. Those connections have given me a real sense of belonging, and I feel I am making an impact. It is a blessing to have found my “home” early on in my college career.

What do YOU bring to the table in your position with FLO?
I bring innovation, creativity, and maturity to the program. My FFA background has given me strong facilitation skills which I am able to share with others. I think I’m taking the best of former FLO programs and combining “old school and new school” ideas. I’m a hard worker — always committed to my endeavors 100%.

What are your career plans and how does your job with the Associated Students better prepare you for that path?
I don’t have a specific career path yet – I’m going with the FLO, no pun intended. I’m passionate about agriculture, and with my degree in Communications, I can see myself doing some kind of non-profit consulting. I’d like to be an advocate for an industry I believe in. Farmers who provide food for the world need spokespeople. Ultimately, I’ll go wherever I need to be. FLO continues to offer me opportunities for exposure to real world situations. FLO has molded me into the professional I will be and I will continue to grow.