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CTE Month® Student Q&A – Maddy Fox

Date: Friday, February 18, 2022

Editor’s note: For February’s CTE Month®, we are featuring Q&A sessions with Iowa educators and students who are participating in career and technical education programs. Their experiences and perspectives provide a glimpse into the importance of CTE instruction for skill development and career exploration. Quality CTE programs help prepare students for future employment in high-demand fields and play an important role in strengthening Iowa’s workforce and economy.

This week’s session highlights Maddy Fox, the national student vice president of public relations for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Fox, 18, is currently a senior at Hinton Community High School and has been involved in her high school’s local FCCLA chapter since her freshman year. After graduation, Gibson plans to attend the University of Nebraska and double major in sports media and broadcast journalism. In this Q&A session, she shares her thoughts on why students should join career and technical student organizations (CTSO) and how her own participation helped her prepare for life after graduation.

What CTE program(s) do you participate in? Why were you interested in participating in this area? 
I’m in FCCLA. When I was an eighth grader, they started to promote it to students – as something to consider while in high school. Being a member has a lot of benefits. It helps prepare you for your adult life. I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of.

I chose FCCLA over another CTSO because it is the best fit for my future career. I’m interested in being a news anchor and am going to the University of Nebraska to study sports media and broadcast journalism. FCCLA events have helped me build my communication and public speaking skills.

How has your participation in a CTSO strengthened your overall skills and career development?
FCCLA has definitely helped me become a better public speaker. We have to give presentations all of the time at state and national meetings, workshops and competitions. Being a part of FCCLA has also helped me with time management. Every year, we have STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events, which are competitions that have a project to complete. I always have a lot of things going on with extracurricular activities and school, so having a project adds another thing you have to manage. It shows how important it is to have good time management, and FCCLA has provided a good understanding and experience for that.

As the national VP of public relations, I have also learned more about social media. Along with my own FCCLA member Twitter profile, I also run the national executive council (NEC) Instagram page. It’s going great, and I can help others. If a member sends a question, I can help them directly. It’s great skill-building on how social media can be used professionally.

When you reflect on your experience in your CTE program, can you tell us a story of how your CTE teacher has helped or influenced you?
At the end of my sophomore year, I didn’t know if I wanted to run for a state officer position in FCCLA for my junior year. Most of the other officers were seniors, and there were a lot of candidates running. I didn’t feel confident that I would be chosen or that it was worth it to even try. My FCCLA advisor, Mrs. Age, encouraged me to do it. She believed that I could make it as an officer. I was elected as a state officer, and she also helped me run for a national office. She is a really great mentor to me and to all of our members.

Tell us of a project or accomplishment you have experienced in your CTE program.
During my freshman year, we did a food innovation project where we had to make a healthy meal. Our group made a gluten-free and dairy-free taco bowl and won first place at the state conference. We went onto the national competition that year, too. It was exciting and a good moment.

I knew that I wanted to continue being a part of FCCLA because of this project. I enjoyed working together with a team, and I like the atmosphere of the conferences. At state, I met so many other people from Iowa, and at nationals, we met other FCCLA members from across the country. Even though it’s a competition, it was great to see other projects and get inspired. You wanted your project to win, but you also wanted the others to succeed, too.

What would you say to a fellow student who hasn’t considered participating in career and technical education programs?
FCCLA isn’t just a club or another extracurricular activity. The members are really a family. They want you to succeed in your skill-building. These skills will help you be prepared for your future after graduation.