9/1/03 • Vol. 127, No. 5
Home, home on the range...
For Molly Fagundes, life on an almond farm gave her the drive, determination and skills to get the job that comes with a corner office and a window—Associated Students president.
From growing almonds to raising heifers, Fagundes' credits her farm past for giving her the skills to become a successful president.
“There is a lot of responsibility,” said Fagundes, 22, of living on the farm. “You have to feed, exercise and get the animals ready for fair and budget the money it takes to raise each animal.
Commitment was the biggest thing.”
Fagundes' younger sister, Meggie, a junior at Fresno State, attributed life on the farm for her sister's political success.
“Molly has a strong work ethic,” she said. “You learn early on an almond farm about commitment and organization. Molly works hard to maintain the Student Union and is committed to listening to the students.”
Fagundes was born and raised in Atwater, Calif. and said the most important aspects of her life are her home and family.
“There is a support group, a solid foundation that you cannot get anywhere else,” she said of her family. “It was my father and mother who taught me the values I need in life.”
Fagundes' parents' college life also helped influence her choice to attend Fresno Sate.
“My dad and mom are alumni,” she said. “They were both Greeks. My dad played football while on the rodeo team and was involved in dairy.”
Fagundes said she couldn't see herself attending another school.
“It is not far from home, it has a great ag school and I received scholarships,” she said. “I could see myself walking onto the Fresno State campus and getting involved with the student life.”
Along with crediting her success to farm and family, Fagundes also said that serving previous terms as executive vice president and senator of agriculture sciences and technology helped ready her for the challenges of the presidency.
As an executive vice president, Fagundes ran all senate meetings, sat on the alcohol awareness sub-committee and was an associated board member.
During her term as senator, Fagundes worked with the College of Agricultural Science and Technology. As a member of the executive council, Fagundes represented every club in the ag department.
“I've been involved with Associated Students for three years,” she said. “In that time I've become familiar with the senate. I've learned about different programs and services.”
Outside of AS, Fagundes was a coordinator of development for Vintage Days and Kids Day from 2002 to 2004. For Fagundes, the responsibilities that came with organizing the events were similar to the skills she developed on the farm while preparing animals for show.
The work ethic she gained from the farm also helped her claim national honors in the Food Science and Technology proficiency for the Future Farmers of America organization. As part of that honor, Fagundes was able to travel to Costa Rica to visit agricultural industries.
Fagundes also took a year off from college to serve as Future Farmers of America state vice president.
During this time she traveled up and down California and also toured Europe, Germany, Austria and Italy as part of the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers.
“I love agriculture, I love the life,” she said.
“I wanted to take a chance to represent the industry and educate the high school students about what the industry has to offer and the leadership skills it takes to make it in the business.”
Meggie recognizes what the position of FFA state vice president did for Molly.
“As a state official, she learned how to be seen in the public eye and how to be an ambassador for the ag industries,” Meggie said. “And now she has carried that skill over to her role as president.”
Through it all, Molly has a sunny disposition.
“I love Fresno State,” she said. “I wouldn't be satisfied with just going to class and doing homework. I want everything school has to offer and really get involved. That is why I ran for president.”
Raj Singh Badhesha, senator of student affairs, said that Fagundes is a capable and dynamic leader.
“There is so much to know when you represent the student body and she is doing a great job absorbing it all,” he said.
Fagundes, an agricultural communications major, hopes the presidential office is a stepping-stone
She wants to put her experience and love of serving others toward a career with Hilmar Cheese Co.
“I'm interested in marketing and promoting the agriculture industry as an educator, possibly corporate or personnel communications,” Fagundes said.
“Dairy is the No. 1 agriculture industry in California,” she said. “It is exciting, challenging and always changing.”
Fagundes likes the challenge of keeping up with an industry that always fluctuates with new technology and consumer interest. Yet a life in agriculture is not the only goal Fagundes has.
“I still want to be a part of campus life, maybe as an adviser for student government,” she said. “Either way I want to go to a place that doesn't feel like I'm going to work. I want to enjoy it.”