If you compare the Violet Giese that first stepped foot on the campus of Lassen College as a freshman in fall of 2017 to the sophomore that will graduate this spring, you will discover two very different young women.
Giese was shy and quite reserved growing up just outside of Susanville, in the small community of Doyle. She wasn’t into sports and never took part in extracurricular activities but instead focused a majority of her time on school and her family.
When she wasn’t attending Long Valley Charter School and studying medical terminology, she helped her parents care for her three little brothers, while also enjoying nature, photography and exploring the trails near her family home.
As she approached her high school graduation date, she knew she wasn’t ready to head off to a four-year school just yet, and decided to begin her college career at Lassen College. She applied for and was awarded a scholarship from the Lassen College Foundation which covered her tuition and books.
Giese took full advantage of her freshman year at LCC to adjust to college life. She moved out of her family home, where she had her own room, and into the dorms, where she gained not only a roommate, but a good friend.
She began working for Cougar Athletics, and by the end of her freshman year, had decided to run for student trustee for the College Board of Trustees.
Giese’s dad, Shaun, who served as president of the Board of Trustees for the last year until this past November, always encouraged his daughter to let her voice be heard.
He mentioned to her that there was an opening for the student trustee, but it wasn’t until an employee from the Office of the President told her about the election and that no one was running, that she really put some thought into the position.
“I would share with my dad things he could say to the board, and he’d tell me to go to the board meeting and tell them myself,” said Giese. “I thought it might be fun and decided to go for it and run. I thought it would help me to overcome my shyness while allowing me to grow.”
Giese ran unopposed and just a few months after she won the election, she was off to San Francisco for a conference to learn about serving as a student trustee, leadership, and teamwork. She had never been to San Francisco and barely been out of Lassen County.
At the conference, she met trustees from community colleges all over the state of California and learned not only how to be an independent thinker but how to come together for a common goal.
When she wasn’t in sessions, she was able to explore the city on guided tours.
When Giese returned to Lassen in the fall, she hit the ground running with a new air of confidence. She admits her trip to San Francisco opened her eyes and mind to a whole new and bigger world.
She felt humbled but thankful for the trip that she considers a turning point in her young life. She decided to change her major from the Licensed Vocational Nursing program to an Allied Health degree program, and was excited to put into motion what she had learned at the trustee workshop.
“I first became interested in nursing as a career while I was in high school,” said Giese. “I remember reading a Joyce Meyer magazine and there was a part of the Bible in Matthew 25 that talked about how when we care for those who belong to Jesus it is like us treating Jesus himself. And in it, it talked about caring for others when they are sick.”
Giese believes her time as a student trustee has made her more responsible because simply, it has given her more responsibility. Beyond attending meetings, taking notes and presenting to the board, she must connect with the student body, listen to ideas and concerns and offer resolutions or otherwise present to the Board for their attention.
Through the process, she is shedding her timid layers, and is getting more and more comfortable speaking in front of people and engaging in conversation.
She admits her dad’s presence helped ease her nervousness as she navigated her new position. Giese’s dad, who is an alumnus of LCC, continues to serve as a board trustee at the college. They share a passion for helping the college and are both grateful for the opportunity to work together to help achieve Superintendent/ President Dr. Marlon Hall’s goal of making Lassen College the educational, economic, cultural, workforce, civil and social leader in the community.
This fall, with her associate’s degree in hand and an anticipated final GPA of at least a 3.6, she will begin the next phase of her educational journey at a university and follow her dream of becoming a nurse. After that, she wants to learn more about the Bible and visit places in the world giving free medical care to poor people and telling them about Jesus.
For now, Giese is content with her life at Lassen and continuing her journey of personal growth. She is grateful to the staff and the opportunity to serve her peers and the college.
It’s offered a way for Giese to give back while also receiving the confidence she needs to pursue her education after Lassen.