Our Stories

Willamette Student Wins Service Fellowship

Megan Flora '06 finished her college degree this school year, but she's not done with learning. Not one to limit herself to just one goal or one option, Flora currently works at a public relations office and a physical therapy clinic, two jobs that couldn't be much more different.

In keeping with her inquisitive spirit, Flora will spend the next two years in Colorado working for El Pomar Foundation through a competitive national fellowship she won this spring. She will develop her leadership skills at the foundation, which gives grants to support state nonprofits involved in health, human services, education, arts and humanities, and civic and community initiatives.

"I am just looking for a different experience out of college rather than just going straight into the working world," she says. "I feel like there might be a job out there that I might never have heard of or even considered, and this fellowship might open those doors for me."

Flora is excited to be going to Colorado, a place where she lived briefly in the past and where many of her family members reside. El Pomar is well-known throughout Colorado for its work. Besides giving grants to other groups, the foundation runs 11 of its own programs to support people who serve their communities. Flora will spend her first year learning about the foundation's programs, and her second year helping to direct them.

"It's a unique opportunity," she says. "I never imagined I would get it. It was a viable opportunity, but I wasn't counting on it."

Flora majored in exercise science and keeps in shape by running. She first got into exercise science because of a fascination with how the human body works. She's not sure if she'll seek a career in the same field, but she says the skills she learned in her major -- how to think critically, write well, do difficult research and work through problems step by step -- will benefit her no matter what she does.

"I've heard so many people say you don't necessarily use your major after college, but rather the skills and experiences you developed," she says.