Yadira Enciso

Recent grad, Yadira Enciso, hopes to learn and inspire while pursuing year of service.

Class of 2017 art history graduate Yadira Enciso will serve in the St. Joseph Worker Program of Orange, assisting in a kindergarten classroom and running an after-school program. A native of Long Beach, Calif., Yadira minored in elementary education and is eager to continue living out LMU’s mission in the years to come.

"My time at LMU definitely taught me that leadership isn’t a position, it’s a process," Yadira said. "I've learned in my own development as a leader that one must serve through compassion and listen to the needs of others."

During her 11-month service placement, Yadira hopes to combine her love of art and passion for education, using art as a tool to connect with her pupils and foster educational growth. Moreover, she hopes to discern whether teaching is a career path she would like to pursue further.

When it comes to her passion for service, Yadira is hardly an anomaly among the LMU community, as students take part in more than 200,000 community service hours per year. Yadira learned of the St. Joseph of Orange service program through her interactions with LMU’s Center for Service and Action, where she was president of the service organization Creare.

Originally drawn to LMU for its Jesuit values and in particular its social justice roots, Yadira says LMU gave her the opportunity to integrate her love of art and passion for education in a way that she can pursue everyday. For instance, she was afforded the opportunity to take part in ARTsmart, a service program through LMU’s art department in which students travel to the Westside Global Magnet School and teach art classes to students who would otherwise have none.

"My heart is full from experiences like these and through the many organizations I got to be apart of at LMU," Yadira said.

Aside from LMU's devotion to service, Yadira says that the small class sizes and close working relationships between students and professors make for an inspiring experience. Her favorite course was "Contemporary Art History," which explores social issues and the change that arose through various art movements.

"Our professor, Damon Willick, taught with a genuine love for learning and he instills this inquiry within you," Yadira said. "Makes you want to learn for the sake of learning." 

Looking to the future, Yadira hopes to pursue a master’s degree in a yet to be decided concentration, but knows she wants to be involved in something that tackles social justice issues.

As for what advice she has for incoming Lions?

"Take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities LMU has to offer," Yadira said. "There are so many ways to get involved and create real change on the campus and beyond."