Maria Fernanda Vizcarra, a junior studying family and consumer sciences, dreamed of obtaining her degree from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints education system.

Vizcarra started her educational journey through BYU-Idaho’s online program. Not knowing what her major would be, she dove deep into the academic catalogs to discover what interested her.

While going through the list of degrees, Vizcarra stumbled upon family and consumer sciences.

According to the Department of Home and Family, “As an FCS Education Composite major, students are qualified to teach in subjects such as nutrition and foods, child and human development, clothing and textiles, and more.”

When she realized that all of her interests fell into one major, Vizcarra knew this was the perfect fit for her.

“I love it,” Vizcarra said. “I just feel the Spirit, and I feel that it’s just what I’m supposed to be doing.”

While sitting in class, Lori Chavez, a home and family professor, made an announcement about the upcoming Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition and encouraged all her students to participate. The FCCLA allows students from junior high to college to participate in regional, state and national competitions.

Vizcarra wasn’t sure if she should participate because her native language isn’t English, but she knew this opportunity would help her grow.

Chelsey Berryhill, a senior studying family and consumer sciences, also participated in the Denver, Colorado, FCCLA nationals as a chaperone and judge. Having this experience allowed Berryhill to learn important skills that she gained from that event.

“You got to see how to interact with students,” Berryhill said. “They can only show you and tell you so much in (college), so it was really cool to see the application of what I’m going to do in an actual setting.”

Chelsey Berryhill, Lori Chavez and Maria Fernanda Vizcarra participated in the FCCLA Denver, Colorado competition.

Chelsey Berryhill, Lori Chavez and Maria Fernanda Vizcarra participated in the FCCLA Denver, Colorado competition. Photo credit: Lori Chavez

Berryhill is currently in Utah completing her student teaching of 8th and 9th graders.

“I got to learn so much, and I think you need to take hold of those chances when they present themselves,” Berryhill said.

Vizcarra started her preparations for the competition by developing a lesson plan, going into classrooms and interviewing teachers throughout the area.

Vizcarra created a portfolio and an oral presentation at the regional level in Bosie, Idaho, where she moved to the next round.

“We learned a lot, and it was a professional development opportunity for us,” Vizcarra said. “I found that it was so exciting for me.”

Vizcarra headed to Denver, Colorado, to compete on the national level where she won.

“Heavenly Father wants us to grow and do the best that we can,” Vizcarra said. “And sometimes that’s scary, but He knows that we can do it.”

Vizcarra will spend her practicum teaching at Rigby High School.

To learn more about FCCLA visit their website.