FULLERTON, Calif. – Last year, Mikaela Francis joined an elite group of just 40 students to receive the BOLD scholarship from BOLD Women's Leadership Network. Her first retreat with the program was back in January when she traveled to Vermont. More recently, she was chosen to travel internationally for BOLD and teach overseas.
Francis was selected to be in the group of 10 women traveling to Laos, a landlocked country in the heart of the Indochinese peninsula of Southeast Asia. She spent three weeks there teaching English to students who were interested in learning it outside of their normal school hours. "It was really exciting to see them putting in the extra effort and see them wanting to learn and for me to be able to help them," said Francis. She also taught a women's empowerment course while she was there, "I've learned women's empowerment through athletics and that's how I learned women can do anything and are just as good as men. So, it was great to be able to take what I've learned through softball and all the sports I played in my life and use those experiences to help impact other people across the globe."
Francis is now preparing for her next trip at the beginning of October, where she will be traveling to New York for four days with her other BOLD scholar colleagues. The cohort within each school is given a 10 thousand-dollar grant for a campus transformation project and on the first day in New York, she will present the synopsis of that project to the founders of BOLD. The second day is an all-day summit where Mikaela will get to mingle and network with people in high-ranking positions in her desired field, which is mental health counseling for student-athletes. And for the final two days of the trip, her and her colleagues will travel to upper-state New York for a retreat and spend time linking up and getting to know all the other BOLD scholars in the program.
The senior first baseman is entering her final year at Cal State Fullerton. She will graduate this May with a degree in human services and hopes to attend NYU for graduate school to earn her master's degree in counseling. Her end goal is to become a mental health counselor for student-athletes. She served as a member on the Diversity & Equity Inclusion Committee in 2016 and has been a representative for the student-athletes on the Student Advisory Fee Committee for the last two years. She is currently serving as the President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for her third consecutive year.
As a member of the softball team, Francis played in 45 games last season batting .253 in 83 at-bats. She collected 21 hits, including a double and a home run, and drove in ten runs. She also sports a career .333 on base percentage including a career-high .340 mark last season.
"Mikaela has such an adventurous spirit and the BOLD Women's Leadership Network is opening up so many opportunities for her left and right," said head coach Kelly Ford. "I can't wait to see the path she takes and where life ends up taking her. The sky is the limit for her."
"I can't thank Coach Ford and Pam Newton enough for the nomination and opening up this opportunity for me," Francis said. "My freshman year I redshirted and I thought it was the worst thing to ever happen to me, and now I'm beyond thankful because if I hadn't, I would not be a BOLD scholar. Being a BOLD scholar is the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's opened up so many doors and it's given me so many opportunities I never thought I'd have and it's all thanks to Coach Ford and Pam Newton."
For more information on the BOLD Women's Leadership Network, click here.
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