I started working at Ascentria in the first semester of my freshman year, through my Spanish 301 class. Being a tutor with the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program was my first encounter with refugee youth. It opened my eyes to immigration policy, the nonprofit sector, and my interest in working further with immigrant and refugee populations. I continued with the program for the rest of my freshman year and knew I had to go back in my sophomore year to further develop the relationships I had already made and learned so much from. I am now the leader of the tutoring program as a CBL Intern, and it has been so rewarding to have the students recognize me as a constant person in the program. I am grateful for my experience with Ascentria because it not only led me to apply to become a CBL Intern, but also to work as a JUHAN Fellow.
The Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) Conference is a bi-annual event, and Holy Cross will be hosting the conference for 2017. The theme of the conference is “Principles in Crisis: Refugees and Responsibility,” which fits well with my interest in immigrant and refugee populations. I applied to be a JUHAN Fellow because I wanted to further my knowledge of global immigration issues, related problems, and ways in which we can respond collaboratively and effectively as a society. The fellowship has allowed me to work more closely with the CBL Office, and JUHAN Fellows from Holy Cross and other Jesuit institutions. We have worked to advertise the conference through various websites, flyers, and newsletters. I look forward to all that I will learn from continuing to organize the conference, as well as attending the conference and hearing from experts in the humanitarian field.
My experience as a JUHAN Fellow has cemented my passion for social justice and humanitarian work. In part, it inspired me to apply for a year abroad in Peru, where I know I can pursue these passions. I know that no matter what I choose to do in the future I will have a mindset for humanitarian concerns and injustices because of my work with Ascentria, CBL, and JUHAN, and I am very grateful for all of these opportunities.