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Santana elected to Girl Scout board

By Kendall Bierer
On February 13, 2011

UCF Director of Women's Studies M.C. Santana holds many titles and responsibilities in her life.

As of Jan. 29, she will add one more. Santana was elected to the Citrus Council Developmental Board of the Central Florida Girl Scouts, which services all Central Florida counties.

"I was tickled. I was so proud and pleased that somebody would even care to invite me," Santana said. "I love working with the community at large. I love working with girls. I had great mentors and I believe that it makes a big difference in a girl's life."

Santana became associated with the Citrus Council a year ago when the Women's Studies program started an internship with it.

"We had an intern with them in fall 2009 and spring 2010," Santana said. "Because of how well they did, and how much they impressed them, they invited me to be a part of what they call Strategic Learning."

Strategic Learning was an activity that all councils around the nation have been participating in to spruce up the Girl Scouts' image, objectives and building an insight into a girl's world. Santana worked on the consumer's group from May until June of 2010.

"My group wanted to find out what the girls liked, so we did market research," Santana said. "We focused on why the girls leave after a certain age, preteen is basically when students start having other activities such as sports which divide their time."

As the consumer group, Santana and the committee had to present to the Board of Directors of the Citrus Council to show them what they had discovered.

"It was a hard job but it was worth it," Santana said.

Her efforts paid off. Santana received a call from the Board of Directors to be on the Developmental Board, which will have its first meeting Feb. 15. She still has no idea who nominated her.

"It has to do with your community involvement rather than your degrees," Santana said. "They do not even call me Dr. Santana, it is not important to them."

The Developmental Board is in charge of getting new people to work for Citrus Council either as fundraisers, donors, contacts, speakers, or supporters. They are looking for an array of different experiences.

This is where they will tell the members what groups and subcommittees the board will be comprised of.

Santana said that it's important that she is an alumna of Girl Scouts and is an Adult Girl Scout. She has been working with her daughter's troop since 2007 and is familiar with the Girl Scout's new journey it established two years ago.

In addition to the Girl Scouts, Santana devotes most of her free time to other aspects of the community.

She has volunteered with the Heart Association of Florida's Heart Walk, teaches K-6 at St. Stephen's Catholic Community where she is also a Eucharist minister, served as a keynote speaker and member of the Hispanic American Business Women Association, a speaker and member of the League of Women's Voters of Orlando and a member of the Leadership Enhancement Program and the Legacy Mentoring Program.

"I know that Citrus Council also wants more representation from the Latino community. Their numbers are not as high for the Latino girls as they would wish," Santana said. "I am sure that the fact that I am a Latino woman had something to do with my nomination, but I think in all honesty that when you like the product you are a good representative. I like the leadership skills that Girl Scouts build."

Santana has dedicated much of her time to doing voluntary work and gaining exposure to UCF.

"I think it connects you with your society and I hope that I put the name of UCF extremely high, as I am really proud of UCF," Santana said.

Even with the responsibility as director of Women's Studies and associate professor of Digital Media, Santana does not believe that the position will be too strenuous on her time and duties.

"I don't see the position as taking away from me; I think it gives me more than takes away," Santana said. "You put everything in perspective."

Santana knows that the Girl Scouts need her, her voice and her participation.

"You realize that this is not busy work, it is important work. It is a new challenge. They appreciate you."

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