When sophomore Angie Ngo was researching universities as a high school senior, she was looking to continue her Catholic education. New to her, however, was the Jesuit tradition.
“I sought out Jesuit universities because I was intrigued by their mission and work with social justice,” the Boise, Idaho native says. “I knew that I wanted to learn more about not only service, but justice.”
And she has. In the last three semesters, Ngo has participated in two Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ) trips – one to El Paso, Texas and a second to Montgomery, Alabama – and coordinated a third to New Orleans in Fall 2017. She is also interning with the SCSJ as a refugee community service coordinator.
Ngo says the SCSJ stood out among the many other Jesuit universities she was considering. All promoted service, and all had social justice programs. But Creighton distinguished itself because it offered multiple ways for students, faculty and staff to act on the Jesuit charism of faith that does justice.
Ngo noted that the SCSJ cultivated leadership skills in students, alongside compassion. Service & Justice Trips are completely student-led, which “gives students the opportunity to really challenge themselves to grow in solidarity with others,” Ngo says. “I wanted to attend a university that allowed students to take charge and grow.”
Ngo is enrolled in the 3-3 Program and will complete her BSBA and JD in six years. She will also earn her MBA, finishing three degrees in seven years total.
The Service & Justice Trip to Alabama inspired her to pursue the law alongside business. While in Montgomery, she visited the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization that challenges poverty and racial injustice and advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system. Since Ngo hopes to one day establish her own nonprofit, she felt business and law were the two best avenues to her dream.
The Service & Justice Trip to El Paso cemented the specific focus of her future nonprofit: refugee and immigration reform. Though the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Ngo says she was unaware of U.S. refugee and immigration policy.
“The individuals I met, the community I encountered, the stories I listened to in El Paso impacted me in an unimaginable way. I knew there needed to be change, and Iwanted to be a part of that change,” Ngo says.
So she applied to work at the SCSJ. Once employed as a student team leader, she then was hired as one of four interns on Team Arrupe, named after the Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, and dedicated to working with local refugee populations. As refugee community service coordinator, Ngo develops and organizes opportunities for students to expand relationships with the Omaha refu
gee community and grow as global citizens. This includes liaising with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc.
Ngo says it is extremely rewarding to watch Creighton students form relationships with members of Omaha’s refugee community. The benefits of this fellowship flow in both directions.
“You can clearly see the growth in individuals over time, especially the students who come to weekly service,” she says. “Seeing them develop over time confirms my mission of practicing a faith that does justice.”
Creighton and the Heider College of Business helped her determine her strengths and then provided her ample opportunity to act on these strengths both in the classroom and outside of campus life.
“Creighton wants you to find what makes you excited and what you’re passionate about,” Ngo says.
*This post was originally published here.
The SCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the SCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.