Angela Dao

SOPHOMORE ANGELA is an English major with three minors in women and gender studies, sociology, and anthropology. She is currently an intern at the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago and has discovered the calling for her life through working with refugees. Her passion was first incited when she took a refugee resettlement class at Loyola. She also has a love for writing and a personal curiosity in classical mythology.

Why do you feel particularly committed to working with refugees?

My experience with refugees began long before I even signed up for the class. Both my parents were Vietnamese refugees from the Vietnam War, so that really got me. I really felt a desire to want to help because I know my parents had no one… no one here could help them. So I wanted to be that person, even if I can’t be much. I can be a friend who can help them work through the difficulties of a new life.

How did you develop such a strong interest in classical mythology?

I took classical mythology and the name of the class stood out to me. It really connects to life because all of these stories have some sort of moral quality to them. And a lot of them are really deep and dark and some are more mature, not just your typical “don’t steal” or “don’t talk to strangers.” And so it definitely connects to life in so many different ways. Afterwards I started doing some research on it and I realized that I just couldn’t stop.

What would you say to encourage students to volunteer and find their own way to help others, as you have?

I would say, definitely find a passion, first off. Not everyone would find refugee work inspiring. Or not everyone would find working with the homeless [inspiring] or working with runaways. And I think you really just need to find your niche. And once you do, all the different types of work you do, it just sort of flows. You don’t have to make yourself do anything because it will just come naturally.

Do you have any mantras that inspire you?

My sister loves to write and she was the one who got me into writing… we’re six years apart. But she had this one quote. “Nothing we can do can change the past, but everything we do can change the future.”

What does the future hold for you?

I know definitely that I want to do something with writing and I know that for a fact. But I’m hoping I can somehow unite all of these passions into one, but they’re so different. I have Greek mythology and I have the refugee work and then I have the writing. So they’re all very different. But I hope to combine them somehow, because I would hate to have to sacrifice something. But I’m a sophomore and I still have two more years of different opportunities to come my way. And whatever comes when I’m a senior or when I’m ready to graduate comes and I’ll figure that out. But as of now, I’m hoping to be able to unite some of those different passions on a daily basis.