College Corps Media Day encourages fellows to share stories

The Concordia Courier

Madeline Stokes and Isabel Maldonado shared their experiences being fellows in College Corps.

By Heather Hershfield | 4/12/2024

On Wed. April 3, Concordia’s #CaliforniansForAll College Corps hosted a media day to have College Corp fellows who participated in the program this year share their stories. The purpose was to demonstrate the difference they have made in their service to the community.

College Corps is a state-wide fellowship program in California that grants students $10,000 toward tuition in exchange for completing 450 hours of service. Members of the program are called fellows. College Corps aids them financially while students are in school but also they provide an impact on the local community and develop valuable skills.

At Concordia, fellows can choose from three different service options that suit their interests. They can work in K-12 schools, food banks or climate action organizations for the environment. 

Sophomore Computer Science major Madeline Stokes went the environmental route and serves at local Tanaka Farms in Irvine. Stokes is from Texas and has always appreciated animals and is familiar with farms. Therefore, she took the opportunity to help the farm, located just down the road from Concordia, through College Corps.

Stokes title is a barnyard assistant and she takes care of the livestock by feeding them and cleaning the barn. The farm has a horse, a mule, donkeys, pigs, cows, chickens and goats.

“I’m a Computer Science major and a lot of the stuff I do for school is on a computer screen,” Stokes said. “Serving at the farm is a good way to explore another part of my interests that is very different from what I normally do.”

She said that working there has improved her social skills since she gets to talk about the animals to people visiting the farm. Stokes expressed that the work is humbling sometimes, especially when cleaning up after the livestock, but it has been well worth it for her. 

“My mindset shift was really important,” Stokes said. “I’m focusing less on superficial things now and being more like this is for a good cause, and it’s helping out the animals.”

Sophomore Biology major Isabel Maldonado helps members of the local community struggling with food insecurity by working at a food pantry called South County Outreach in Irvine. The pantry allows people to pick out the different items they may need, such as canned goods, dairy products, meat, fruits and vegetables. It is different from other pantries because it allows people to choose their desired products and retain the dignity of a supermarket-like shopping experience.

“I really like talking to customers more than anything. I think there’s a good social aspect to it as well,” Maldonado said. She has met many different people and gotten to learn about their lives on a personal level.

For Maldonado, it was an enlightening experience to get outside of herself and focus on the people in need. “There’s a lot of gratitude from the people coming in,” she said. “You’re genuinely seeing these people in poverty. They are struggling, and it’s very real.”

Both College Corps fellows shared that they have gained life-long skills because of the program and appreciate the opportunity to give back to their community and see their efforts helping others. 

For more information about joining College Corps for the 2024-2025 school year, visit  or email


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