2020 President's Medallion Winner: Karen Camargo
Hometown: Cicero, Illinois
Degree: A.A in Social and Behavioral Sciences
Expected Date of Graduation: August 2021
Karen Camargo says she wants to be “a person who leads with confidence, love, and understanding.” It’s a philosophy she adopted after first-hand leadership experience, as vice president of the student government at Arrupe College, Loyola’s two-year associate’s degree program. She was inspired by her fellow student government leaders, who were all passionate about creating a safe and welcoming campus community. “Being part of student government has taught me that leadership is about how you live and treat others, and how this influences those around you,” says Camargo, who plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology and then pursue law school and a career as an immigration attorney.
At Arrupe, she maintained a 4.0 GPA while also balancing a part-time job and volunteer work at her church, in addition to her student government responsibilities. She is part of Arrupe’s Emerging Leader Program, as well as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Here, Camargo reflects on her future goals and how Arrupe has prepared her for what’s next:
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your Loyola education?
The most valuable lesson I have learned while at Arrupe is to be a person for others and my community. Whether the community is Arrupe or my hometown, it is important to find understanding and acceptance for all people within that community and to be driven by that understanding to do what is right. Now more than ever, I believe we should care for other’s well-being, as we are facing many issues, like racial injustices. If we cannot find this understanding and acceptance for the many who face these inequalities, we are not living by the values that are deeply embedded in the greater Loyola institution.
What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you?
As an immigration attorney, I want to help those who come to America in search of more opportunity, and provide them with the resources they need. I also plan to bring change in the immigration system and encourage the immigration reform the United States has been needing for years now. As Loyola students, we are told, “Go forth and set the world on fire,” and to me, this means we must do what’s morally right and change the systems of today’s society that don’t uphold the Jesuit values we are continuously taught.
What does receiving the President's Medallion mean to you?
Receiving this award is just the beginning of the many ways I will continue to live by these Jesuit values as I finish my undergraduate years and begin to pursue my dream career. I am grateful for those who have helped me get through obstacles and continue to persist throughout the good and bad, and to me, this President’s Medallion would not be possible without these experiences.
For a full list of recipients by college and school, click here.