Clarissa Owens, a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, knew that Florida State University was a special place the moment she arrived. Having been raised a Seminole fan, Clarissa came here for her undergraduate degree and after a tremendous four-year experience, she chose to remain in Tallahassee for graduate school, receiving a Research Assistantship Award in Urban Planning. She caps her experience at FSU by being selected for the Student Star Initiative as an outstanding student leader on campus.
Clarissa has been highly involved in extracurricular activities during her tenure at Florida State. She attributes her experience with International Programs, funded partially by her College of Arts & Sciences International Enrichment Fund Scholarship, as one of the pivotal moments in her undergraduate career. In fact, she notes that International Programs helped her to grasp a more genuine understanding of her studies, as she studied Italian language while studying in Florence, Italy. This experience also helped her to become more interested in all aspects of community involvement. Clarissa said, “International Programs gave me the opportunity to be part of a closely knit group of students and faculty. Sharing this journey encouraged me to seek out and develop these same meaningful relationships on campus.”
International Programs was just one of Clarissa’s involvements while at Florida State. She interned with the March of Dimes and saw the power of community service through the experience. She noted that by being surrounded by people who work to make a difference led her to recognize how important teamwork and dedication is to a cause. She said that “everyone who works with the March of Dimes wants something better for the community.” Clarissa now knows that getting involved with passion and dedication in causes greater than oneself has helped shape her future. She was able to put this knowledge to work as an on-call advocate and peer educator for FSU Victim Advocate. She worked as a peer educator, teaching portions of the FYE classes on rape awareness and prevention, and she also worked as an on-call advocate. Clarissa emphasized, “Working for the Victim Advocate Program and realizing the impact the program has on the health of our campus community, reinforces my belief that it is, without a doubt, one of the most important student support systems on campus. Working for Victim Advocate has been one of the most rewarding and impactful accomplishments of my entire academic career.”
Clarissa credits her wide array of experiences and accomplishments with helping her decide her future goals and direction. To name a few, she participated in the FSU Book Club, Golden Ace Ladies, Intramural Volleyball, and College Democrats as an undergraduate. She is currently a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and Golden Key Honor Society and was on the Dean’s list every semester of her undergrad and graduate career. She knows that she could not have accomplished so much without the support of numerous faculty members and she credits her relationships with the faculty for her success. Clarissa said, “I feel like I have left my undergraduate years with a profound understanding of who a lot of my professors are, how they have impacted the community, and what they have to offer outside the classroom. Working on a variety of community service projects and having close relationships with my professors has given the FSU campus of 40,000+ students a warm, small college feel.”
Clarissa hopes to pursue a career in Transportation Planning and Dispute Resolution with an emphasis on community involvement and sustainable urban design.