From a young age, Caley Follmer dreamed of becoming an engineer, and she set her sights on Stanford University. However, during Follmer’s junior year of high school, she drove up to Colorado State University to attend a campus tour. After one tour, Follmer fell completely in love with CSU. With that, she redirected her energy and focus to becoming a Ram.
In 2010, Follmer enrolled in CSU’s University Honors program and declared a mechanical engineering major with a minor in Spanish. While on campus, Follmer was an incredibly active campus community member. She was a CSU Presidential Ambassador, the president of the Engineering College Council, a member of the Society of Women Engineers student club, and an active member of her sorority, Chi Omega.
Youth mentoring program Campus Connections
During Follmer’s freshman year honors seminar course, she met instructor Jen Krafchick, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. During the seminar, Krafchick challenged her students to become civically engaged, and she exposed her students to a special outreach program at CSU called Campus Connections.
Campus Connections is a mentoring program for at-risk youth and a high-impact, multi-disciplinary University course for CSU students seeking an opportunity to enhance their education, hone their professional skills, and make a meaningful contribution to the lives of youth.
Each year, Campus Connections engages approximately 250 youth and 300 CSU students. Since its inception in 2009, Campus Connections has served 2,320 at-risk youth and trained more than 3,000 student mentors. Campus Connections achieves its mentoring goals by pairing an at-risk youth with a CSU student mentor to create a relationship that:
- Promotes the resilience and life success of at-risk youth through strengthening social bonds, increasing academic engagement and performance, decreasing substance use and delinquency, and improving sense of self.
- Prepares University students to become highly skilled, civically engaged human service professional and community leaders.
- Responds to community initiatives to strengthen community systems to better serve at-risk youth and their families.
After completing the honors seminar course, Follmer decided to join Campus Connections as a student mentor. The experience was deeply meaningful to Follmer. So much so that she remained involved with Campus Connections for the next four years and became a mentor coach, followed by a lead mentor coach. Follmer has some candid advice to current CSU students considering participating in Campus Connections:
“JUST DO IT! Joining Campus Connections was hands down the best experience of my college career,” said Follmer. “By participating in the program, I developed critical soft skills that I would not have gotten from my degree program. Also, I learned about the impact of privilege and bias and how to respond to those forces.”
Giving back to CSU
In 2015, Follmer graduated from CSU and became a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin. After spending three years in that role, she switched gears and became a human capital analyst for Lockheed, focusing on workforce planning and strategy development. Follmer routinely reflects back on the life skills she acquired while in Campus Connections. In fact, the experience on her life was so profound that she and her fellow Ram husband, Taylor Scott, now philanthropically support the program.
Matching gift program
Follmer explains that she feels compelled to give back so other CSU student mentors and at-risk youth can have access to this deeply meaningful mentorship program. In addition to personally supporting Campus Connections, Follmer utilizes the Lockheed Martin Matching Gift Program for Colleges and Universities to double her impact.
The purpose of the Lockheed Martin Matching Gift Program for Colleges and Universities is to recognize the colleges and universities whose graduates contribute so importantly to Lockheed Martin’s capability and growth, and to provide incentive for employees to make regular financial contributions to higher education institutions. Lockheed Martin matches the tax-deductible portion of employee gifts to accredited colleges and universities up to $10,000 per employee, per year.
Follmer encourages other young alumni to look into their employers’ matching gift programs so they, too, can double their philanthropic impact. For more information on corporate matching gift programs, check out Double the Donation. In addition to supporting Campus Connections, Follmer and Scott are big supporters of the Civil Engineering Opportunity Fund and the Tuttle First Generation STEM Scholarship.
To support Campus Connections, go to the Campus Connections online giving page.
Campus Connections is now accepting mentor applications from current CSU students for the Fall 2019 semester course HDFS 470A. All applications are due by April 1 at 5 p.m. Check out the Campus Connections website to learn how to apply to be a mentor with Campus Connections.
The Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the Campus Connections outreach program are part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.