Agribusiness student leads by example and action

One of agribusiness major CJ Francis' goals is to increase the representation of African-Americans within his field.  
Photo Submitted by Crenel Francis Jr.

Since arriving on The Hill, Crenel Francis Jr. has made it his mission to not just to be a number, but to make a lasting impact on the students and Florida A&M University.  Francis is an example of an exceptional student, especially within his major of Agribusiness.

He believed since becoming a student at FAMU, he was called into every position he has earned. Nothing given, but everything earned.

“I was never forced into any position at FAMU. I walked into my calling I believe, as a student here at FAMU,” Francis said. “I do not believe I failed anything I have done as a leader. Everything was for growth and development.”

Francis is a junior agribusiness major who was born in Nebraska but journeyed to Tallahassee then to Gainesville. For Francis, FAMU has always been the school for him. Once arriving on The Hill, this institution accepted him and gave him the opportunity to develop.  

He is a mentor with the First Year Experience Peer Mentor Program, Vice President of the Collegiate 100 of FAMU, 2017 Orientation Leader and a new member of the Alpha Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, inc.

“My involvement on campus came from me refusing just to be a student that goes to class and did not do anything to fulfill my purpose here at FAMU, and that is to inspire and create change in others,” Francis said.

Black leaders, in all aspects, are people who many in society believe there needs to be more of, and student leaders like Francis are striving to increase the male and minority ratio at FAMU.

This passion for recruitment is seen through his work in the Peer Mentoring program, and because he studies in one of the lowest degreed majors at FAMU, which currently has less than 100 students enrolled.

Francis joined on as a peer mentor and an orientation leader to sharpen his skills needed in becoming a progressive professional. He wanted to not only become more involved on campus but to enhance his public speaking skills and be a role model for young African-Americans.

Through serving as an Orientation Leader he was able to become an orator and a well-known voice across FAMU’s campus.

Roderick Wilkins is a senior information technology major who has known Francis for several years, and has worked closely with him as members of the Collegiate 100.  He believes that Francis possessed all of the strong qualities of a leader.

“He is constantly developing new leaders of FAMU’s campus and being an exceptional role model to others,” Wilkins said. “A good leader to me is someone who can follow, and Crenel possesses that quality.”

Because Francis is an Agribusiness scholar, he saw it fit to involve himself with the most extensive professional academic club at FAMU, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. He serves as president and aims in helping students achieve professionally and academically in Agriculture.

A father instills the values of a man, but it is inevitably your choice on whether you follow in your father's footsteps.

Within his Fraternity, Crenel Francis Sr. is the one who instilled in Francis the qualities of a man of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity inc.  Francis Sr. attended Southern University and crossed at the Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma.

Francis explained the values and messages taught in the fraternity are what drew him to eventually become a member.

At a university like FAMU, it is easy to blend in, but Francis has made sure to excel in the classroom while also striving to be an example of what it takes to become a professional in today’s society.

Shelby Rose Hall, junior economics major and National Council of Negro Women member, worked closely with Francis on a number of occasions. She hoped Francis would continue to be a positive force on campus.

“CJ is charismatic, helpful, funny and confident,” Hall said. “His leadership and confidence make him stand out from other students.”

One of Francis’ goals is to increase the representation of African-Americans and specifically black males within his field. This past summer Francis completed a summer internship with Monsanto in St. Louis. Monsanto is a modern agricultural company working with others to address the world’s food challenges and help sustain the environment.

Upon leaving FAMU Francis plans to attend graduate school and pursue a master’s in communications.