Major: Ag Education
Hometown: Soledad, CA
Program Position: FLO Coordinator
While still in high school, Marlene had an FFA connection here at Chico State who encouraged her to apply for the Freshman Leadership Opportunity program. When she attended Summer O, she signed up to get more information about the program and promptly received an email. She attended one of the information sessions, applied, and became one of 40 students in the program. Now as she enters her senior year, Marlene is still very clear about the value of her participation in FLO as a freshman. “It expanded my horizons beyond the College of Agriculture and opened up doors for further leadership development. Plus, it provided a great networking experience. I was able to build valuable professional relationships, and I made friends I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
Marlene’s positive first year experience hooked her on FLO for good. She credits the program for making her transition to Chico a smooth one, and she wanted to be able to give back to the program that had done so much for her. Without hesitation, Marlene applied and was hired to become one of four facilitators for the program her sophomore year. Her goal in that role was to establish trust with the students and provide a support system for them to insure a successful transition to college. After a year of closely mentoring a group of 10 students, Marlene was ready to take the next step and become the coordinator of FLO.
Under her leadership, the program expanded to 50 participants and five facilitators. “As the coordinator, my job is to train the facilitators, observe them in action and offer feedback. I also serve as a resource for all the activities they plan.” This year FLO participated in Choose Chico Day, a blood drive, a community clean-up and AS elections. FLO also offers a shadow program where each student is matched up with a staff or student leader in a campus program to see firsthand what leadership in action looks like. Many campus student leaders got their start in FLO and go on to pursue passions they discovered thanks to their involvement with the program.
Marlene is eagerly looking forward to her second year as the FLO coordinator. She is already planning the fall 2012 retreat which will focus on the power of collaboration. But, before school even starts, Marlene will have the chance to spread the word about FLO to incoming freshmen because she will be a peer advisor during summer orientation.
In Marlene’s words:
“It’s important to know that you don’t have to have leadership experience to be involved in FLO. We will teach you leadership skills and provide opportunities for you to be involved and practice those skills.”