Student Spotlight, December 2012
“I’ve always been… a person that likes to be engaged in things, and I don’t want to lose that… I don’t want to lose touch with people.” –Margaret Johnson
Junior Margaret Johnson makes it a goal to volunteer every weekend despite her hectic work and school schedule. Volunteering with Community Engagement Center has shown her the value of incorporating reflection into her service, as well as taught her as a person to think of creative ways to communicate and lead. So far she has participated in many different Sac State Serves events, including the Great American River Cleanup in 2011 and 2012, Color Run, The Girl Scouts’ Mega Cookie Drop, Chef Challenge, Meals on Wheels, and Soil Born Farms in 2011 and 2012. “I’ve always been the type of person that wanted to give back or help the community,” she said.
As much as possible, Margaret tries to include her boyfriend and her 21-year-old son when she volunteers. “I include them because people always say they’re so busy with their own lives. There are things going on in our own community that we’re not even aware of or we kinda put these blockers on [like] ‘oh that’s sad that we have these homeless people’ or ‘look how trashed our place is’ but never take the initiative,” she explained. Through service together, her family members take initiative they would not otherwise have on their own, sharing a common goal to do something positive. More than anything, she thinks it is a good experience for them to meet people and appreciate life.
She also says that volunteering has helped her to be more patient dealing with people and their differences. Though she first started volunteering to network, it has helped her to build better relationships with other students and meet more people than she would by just being on campus. Reflecting on this, Margaret said, when you are on campus, “You just pass people and you don’t know who they are… but when you volunteer, [and] there [are] other students volunteering, then you see each other on the campus and it’s like a high five because we both know what we did and it was fun and…we did something positive.”
Margaret describes the volunteering atmosphere as being very positive and says that what she loves most about it is in knowing the impact she has on other people’s lives by giving up just a few hours of her time. Also, the appreciation the community shows for her work makes her feel good; “People really appreciate volunteers spending their time. To see your peers and other people surrounding you giving thanks for what you’re doing, for your service, that’s the ultimate high.”
Before attending Sac State, Margaret studied real estate at American River College, but after the market crash, she realized that she needed a more reliable career. She took classes with Dr. Kubo at ARC, and fell in love with science. She decided to major in biochemistry in part because she liked the hands-on activities Sac State’s program offered, but also because the environment was like another family to her, one where everyone knows everyone.
Ultimately, Margaret would like to work with the Center for Disease Control helping to create vaccines. She also would like to teach science and inform people that it is not as hard as it seems and anyone can learn. To prepare herself for her future career in teaching, she is taking Biology 195T, a Service Learning course that gives students the opportunity to intern in a K-12 teaching setting.
Margaret plans to graduate in spring 2015.
Contributed by M. Hardy
Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.
last updated: 2/26/2013