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### Fellowship Secured by Public Administration Student at City of Bellflower

Cindy Flaro, a graduate student in public administration, is currently engaged in the “Bellflower Connect” city project, which aims to bridge the digital divide among lower-income residents by addressing the issue of internet accessibility.

Assigned to the City of Bellflower’s office, Cindy, a Class of 2024 graduate student, shadows Travis Sais ‘18 (MPA), a Cal State Fullerton alumnus and deputy city manager. Through this experience, she has gained insights into various city departments such as human resources, economic development, as well as the city clerk’s and city manager’s offices.

Reflecting on her involvement, Flaro expressed, “The fellowship has broadened my understanding of government operations and expanded my professional network, providing clarity on my career aspirations within the government sector.”

In her role, Flaro is actively involved in project managing the distribution of WiFi routers to Bellflower residents experiencing financial challenges or receiving government assistance. Her responsibilities include gathering applicant data and researching the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, which aims to support families, businesses, and governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flaro emphasized, “Beyond the immediate benefits, this project underscores the City of Bellflower’s commitment to promoting social equity and inclusivity. It’s truly fulfilling to contribute towards reducing the digital divide among residents.”

With a long-term goal of becoming a city manager advocating for low- and moderate-income communities, Flaro aspires to be a supportive voice for communities of color and eventually run for a local office.

Cindy Flaro’s Experience in the Cal State DC Scholars Program

Prior to her involvement in the management fellowship with the City of Bellflower, Flaro participated in the Cal State DC Scholars program, which provided her with the opportunity to study and intern in the nation’s capital.

During her time in the program, Flaro interned at the Office of Legislative and Regulatory Services, where she focused on advocating for immigrant workers in agriculture, attending congressional hearings, and drafting policy memos on agriculture, infrastructure, and immigration.

Encouraging other government-minded students to explore such programs, Flaro remarked, “My enriching experiences have fueled my passion for government and my commitment to serving underserved communities.”

In recognition of her dedication to city management, Flaro was honored as one of the recipients of the Wes McClure Scholarship from the California City Management Foundation.

Pursuing Further Education at CSUF

Having completed her bachelor’s degree at CSUF in 2021, Flaro made the decision to return to her alma mater for her master’s degree in public administration.

Explaining her choice, Flaro stated, “As a first-generation Latina college student, CSUF’s inclusive mission made me feel at home. I was confident in receiving a top-notch education while being part of a diverse student community.”

Throughout her academic journey, Flaro actively utilized the university’s resources, including seeking guidance from the Career Center, participating in student organizations, and networking with fellow public administration students.

Flaro also attended the California Higher Education Student Summit in Sacramento, where she engaged in workshops on student advocacy organized by the Cal State Student Association, shedding light on the impact of state policies on higher education.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of her professors, family, friends, and mentors in her career progression, Flaro expressed her gratitude for the unwavering support that has shaped her professional path.