Class of 2018 Theatre Arts graduate, Isabel Ngo, is trading the stage for a year of post-graduate service with the Loretto Volunteer Program in El Paso, Texas. Hailing from Monrovia, California, Isabel is spreading the LMU spirit as a housing and employment liaison at a homeless shelter for single women.
Isabel’s interest in issues surrounding homelessness, in particular those faced by marginalized communities, sparked while she was a member of LMU's Ignatian service organization and through the group's work with the Guadalupe Homeless Project.
“Few schools can rival LMU’s commitment to service and social justice,” Isabel said, adding that the Loretto Volunteer Program is a project of the Sisters of Loretto, a 200-year old Catholic order known for its advocacy for women’s equality, social justice and peace.
Currently, LMU ranks No. 8 in the nation for “Students Most Engaged in Community Service,” according to The Princeton Review. In fact, LMU Lions devote more than 200,000 hours to service pursuits every year through opportunities provided by a range of campus outlets, including the Center for Service and Action and Campus Ministry.
Drawn to the bluff for its Jesuit roots and top-ranked College of Communication and Fine Arts, Isabel says she appreciated how social justice was a common theme in many of her classes, giving her the chance to see issues from a variety of perspectives.
“LMU not only helped me gain confidence and pride in my work, but the ability to put my voice out into the world,” Isabel said. “I received a well-rounded education and feel prepared for life’s next chapter.”
She added that a key factor in her success was the dedication of her professors, as they were always keen to collaborate and develop working relationships with pupils thanks to average class sizes of just 19.
“I felt heard by my professors,” Isabel said, who paired Theatre Arts with a double-minor in Studio Arts and English.
Additionally, Isabel was active in a number of campus pursuits, including The Del Rey Players, a student-run theatre company established in 1931, and as the Managing Editor for The Loyolan newspaper.
As for what advice she has for future Lions?
“Learn the difference between getting good grades and getting an education,” Isabel said. “And be open to perspectives different from your own. There’s so much to learn from others – it will change you for the better and allow you to grow.”