Outstanding Family and Consumer Sciences grad builds connections, overcomes challenges on path to becoming a teacher

Molly Ranger with two-legged CAM the Ram
Molly Ranger with CAM the Ram.

Like many of our 2021 graduates, outstanding family and consumer sciences and teacher licensure graduate Molly Ranger overcame a number of challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including being trapped in another state when the pandemic hit. In spite of these challenges, Ranger will be graduating magna cum laude this fall while completing the requirements for CSU’s Honors Program and earning multiple scholarships.

The future teacher came to Colorado State University from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and she knew immediately that CSU was the right place for her.

“I chose CSU because I knew it felt like a perfect fit as soon as I saw the campus for the first time,” she said. “It was such a fun atmosphere and I loved that it was a big state school. I was fortunate to be able to go out of state but still be close enough to home to visit. With the help of scholarships CSU offered me, I was able to attend the best school ever!”

Supportive professors

Molly Ranger with Family and Consumer Sciences faculty
Molly Ranger with family and consumer sciences faculty members Carole Makela, left, and Dawn Mallette, right.

In spring 2020, Ranger was in Virginia visiting her sister for spring break when the pandemic caused the world to come to a screeching halt.

“I was stuck in Virginia for three months!” said Ranger. “I did not have any of my school supplies, like notes and textbooks, which made finishing up that semester a challenge.”

Although the task seemed daunting, Ranger says with the help of great professors, she was able to make it through. This experience helped show Ranger the importance of being flexible and advocating for your learning needs – two skills that can be directly applied to both students and educators.

The strong connection Ranger was able to build with her professors in the School of Education has given her the tools to succeed in her future career as an educator.

“These professors have shown me the importance of building relationships with your students. My family and consumer sciences and education professors have been patient and understanding all while pushing me to be the best I can be. They have been great examples for my future practices and have helped me be successful in achieving my degree.”

Activities on and off campus

Family and Consumer Sciences table for new students
Molly Ranger, left, helps promote family and consumer sciences for prospective students.

Ranger’s time at CSU was filled with extracurricular activities. These activities were helpful in developing her skills as a future educator, student, and person.

“During my time at CSU, I was part of the Honors Program which was a great experience. I also tried out American Sign Language Club, Intramural dodgeball, and I worked for Ram Kidz Village– the on-campus daycare here at CSU.”

Ranger also student taught at Mountain View high school this past semester and was able to attend many community-oriented events at CSU. “Most of my CSU involvement was pretty spontaneous and I attended a lot of little events that CSU put on. It was always fun being part of the student section at the CSU football and basketball games as well.”

Ranger is most proud of completing her Honors Thesis, “Integrating Culturally Relevant Teaching into Culinary Curriculum: A Regional Cookbook,” which was a big project that she put a lot of time and energy into researching and completing.

“It involved a lot of late nights at the library,” said Ranger, “but I am happy with how it turned out.”

Future plans

Ranger is excited about what comes next for her and her peers. “I will miss all of the friends I have made here at CSU. Many of my friends graduated in May and have already moved all over the country. I am excited to see where we all end up.”

Ranger noted that she will miss her professors who helped her reach the finish line as she graduates from CSU and as an FCS major. “Dawn Mallette, Carole Makela, and Karen Rowe were all integral parts of making my time at CSU memorable and successful.”

As for Ranger’s future, she is excited to take time to reflect as she dives into her next phase of life.

“After graduating this December, I plan on taking a semester to be a substitute teacher in Fort Collins and Loveland and work at my catering job in Estes Park while I apply for teaching jobs that will start in the fall,” she said. “I am also going to embrace as much free time as I can – I am excited for a break after 17+ years of being a student!”

Family and Consumer Sciences is an undergraduate degree program offered by the School of Education, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

Gretchen Gerding, director of communications, contributed to this article.