Cynthia Kraus, 52
Environmental & Urban Studies Master Gardener
Pictured with Sustainability Project Manager Ferris Kawar
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Transfer Aspiration: UCLA or Cal Arts
Desired Degree: Master’s degree in Art or Sculpture
SMCF: Tell us about your role as a leader at SMC.
CK: I started as a volunteer in the Spring of 2015 at the Organic Learning Garden. I began taking on responsibility by caring for the garden in between classes and weekends, and becoming a member of Club Grow. It was not long before I became the compost tea specialist and worm bin caretaker. I made the aesthetics of the garden my focus and started donating seedlings and working to bring more beauty to the garden. After being chosen as a Garden Fellow to care for the garden in the Summer of 2015, I became a Garden Manager of the OLG in the Fall of 2015 and VP of Club Grow. Since that time I have worked to train several garden managers in all aspects of the garden, including managerial duties and work ethic that can be used throughout their lives as adults. I have led one of the most successful Student Feeding Students to date in the Spring of 2016, where we were honored with a visit by the VP of Zambia to the OLG. To give her a tour of the garden was one of my proudest moments at SMC. I have also been helping to facilitate the growth of the garden. There are now 5 classes in the garden where professors are using the garden to teach students English, Anthropology and Biology. Last semester, we purchased a bird bath and a new water filtration system to make some of the highest quality compost tea available.
SMCF: Why did you choose to attend SMC?
CK: I have always heard that SMC had an excellent Art Department. After deciding to make a career change to fulfill a lifelong desire to be an artist, I decided to take a self-guided tour of SMC. SMC seemed to embody the friendly and comfortable atmosphere that I was looking for. I happened to walk into the Organic Learning Garden that day and was made to feel so at home and comfortable that I have been part of SMC and the garden ever since.
SMCF: What about the SMC environment motivates you as a student?
CK: have met some of the most dedicated and caring teachers at SMC. They possess not only competence, but a warmth that makes them special. This support helps students to feel more confident and safe, and makes students want to succeed.
SMCF: “PROUD TO BE SMC” is the alumni chant. What are you, as an individual, most proud of?
CK: As an older student, I am most proud that I have been able to go back to school full time, balance being a wife and mother and to make a difference in my community by working with students at the Organic Learning Garden.
SMCF: What three (3) words best describe your experience as an SMC student?
CK: Comfortable, Friendly, Challenging.
SMCF: Final question: What words of inspiration would you share with a new student starting at SMC?
CK: If you are looking for a place to spread your wings and teachers that will challenge you to be the best you can be, then SMC is the place to help you soar to new heights.