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Making strides at a feverish pace

February 23, 2009

Making strides at a feverish pace

To say Maureen Francisco, ’99, is a go getter would be selling her short. A list of her accomplishments runs long and seems to have no end. She calls it just a start to her “things she wants to do before she dies list.”

She’s always wanted to run in a marathon. Well, she’s run in four. She wanted to be a television reporter and has done work in multiple markets. She wanted to work for a non-profit. She’s the media director for Child United.

It’s just the way she is, said Associate Professor of Communication Joanne Lisosky, who Francisco credits as being a guiding force for her when she was a student at PLU. The two still stay in touch.

“It does not surprise me that she went out and became a very powerful woman in the world,” Lisosky said. “She’s just absolutely charming – just delightful to be around in every way.”

But a recent adventure allowed her to indulge in something she’s wanted to be a part of for awhile – reality TV.

“I’ve always been fascinated with reality shows,” she said. “But when you’re a reporter there’s a conflict of interest.”

So she put that dream on hold for awhile to focus on other projects. Then she moved on from reporting and found herself a slot as a contestant on the Fox Reality Channel’s Solitary 3.0.

“I now have time and there’s no conflict of interest,” Francisco said.

The show is a grueling combination of physical and emotional challenges. Contestants are isolated in a room and given different challenges to complete. The only way a contestant is eliminated is by choosing to quit. And none of the contestants know who, if any, of the others have quit.

“It is a different kind of television show,” Francisco said. “This is the only reality show where you are playing against yourself because the only way you lose is if you quit.”

It’s a true test of will, Francisco said.

“I had a certain bar that I had when it came to pain threshold,” she said. “(But) when you want something bad enough you’ll push yourself even farther.”

Recently Francisco met her breaking point in a challenge that had contestants drinking a large quantity of milk – which if you’ve ever been part of a residence hall “galloon challenge” you know there’s only so much milk the body can absorb before it comes back up.

Although she didn’t win, Francisco said, the experience was very positive. She was able to go beyond some of her personal thresholds.

Her personal bar of emotional and physical strength has been set higher because of the show, she said.

“Anytime I get to one of my big milestones I realize anything is possible,” Francisco said.

Setting the bar higher is something Francisco has always aimed to do since she met her, Lisosky said.

“She’s a great role model for young women I think in many ways because it wasn’t always easy for Maureen,” Lisosky said. “She always worked at it.”

Although eager viewers can still catch Solitary 3.0 on the Fox Reality Channel and Solitary 3.0, Francisco is jumping into other projects.

She’s still the media director for the non-profit Child United and she’s continuing to pursue other media ventures. Oh yeah, and she’s finishing her memoir.

Before too long, media mogul may be the best way to describe her, like her idol Tyra Banks. She wants to have a future career where the sky is the limit.

Lisosky agreed, adding that maxim is the only way to gauge her former student’s potential.

“The sky’s the limit,” with her, Lisosky said. And then adds “are you kidding me,” as if the question is ridiculous, or just too obvious.

There is a good chance she’s right.