Beyond the Classroom: Shaping the Whole Person
Clubs round out college experience for student Kimberly Martin.
Returning to school as a young mother, joining a club was the furthest thing from Kimberly Martin’s mind. “I thought, ‘I’m just going to focus on my classes and get out of there’,” admits the 27-year-old from Oshkosh.
Fast-forward three years: Kimberly has not only served multiple leadership roles in both the Natural Resources club and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), she also worked as a Peer Leader.
“I realized, what fun is going to school if you’re not going to meet other people?” Kimberly explains. She attended her first Natural Resources club meeting upon the encouragement of an instructor, and was hooked. “There were students of all ages, and everyone was so helpful. The camaraderie was amazing.”
Natural Resources club members also volunteer in the community to gain experience. “Every year we help with things like tree planting, installing deer fencing, and chopping wood,” she says. “I’ve made connections and gotten experience that I never would have had if it wasn’t for the club.”
The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society has helped Kimberly round out her education beyond her program; PTK projects help the broader FVTC community. For example, one of last year’s PTK projects focused on improving student-instructor communications in a virtual learning environment, which won an international award. “We wrote papers, applied for grants, interviewed students and talked to employers,” Kimberly explains, “You’re protecting the image of the college as well as PTK, so you learn valuable public relations skills, and how to speak on a professional and personal level.”
FVTC Peer Leaders support other students by helping them navigate college life. “I met so many other students as a Peer Leader, and made lots of friends,” she says.
In her classes as a double-major in Natural Resources Technician and Wildland Firefighting, Kimberly loves the hands-on training. “Ninety percent of my coursework is hands-on,” she says. “Everything is outside. I’ve learned how to use chain saws, a skid steer, survey equipment, a compass—we just go out to the field and use it.”
Upon completion of her FVTC degrees, Kimberly plans to transfer to UW-Stevens Point to major in Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management. For now, she will continue to make the most of her college career and encourage others to get involved. “I don’t believe that the college experience is complete unless you join a club,” she says.
Learn more about how to get involved in student clubs and organizations >>
"FVTC makes sure you're not only getting an education in the classroom, but that there are opportunities to learn outside the classroom as well."
Published: Nov 10, 2021