Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies
Expected Graduation: 2019
Suzanne was inducted this fall into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society. Suzanne’s widespread commitment to Loyola includes organizing writing workshops, social activities, and feminist discussions. They actively work to increase diversity, inclusion, and awareness across campus, having led six workshops on creating gender-inclusive classrooms; serving as a tutor and mentor for McNair Scholars, a grant program that helps underrepresented populations attain PhD degrees; and serving as co-chair of EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education).
Three days a week Suzanne runs groups and works directly with students as an intern at Loyola Community and Family Services, a mental health clinic that serves school-age children and their families in Rogers Park. Outside of the formal internship, Suzanne also was responsible for creating and implementing a career preparation program for seventh- and eighth-grade youth.
Here, Suzanne talks about how their Loyola education has expanded their understanding of social justice and about their goal of being a resource for LGBTQIA+ youth.
What was the most meaningful volunteer, service, or student organization activity you’ve been involved in? How has it influenced you or shaped you as a person?
The most meaningful student organization I have been involved with has been EDGE. I have had the opportunity to push for community care within Loyola’s graduate school and higher education programs. I have been able to take the concept of self-care, something vital to all graduate students, and expand it. By leading educational workshops, pushing folks to question their writing, helping people navigate systems within academia, and sometimes just offering space, I have cultivated a kind of caring for myself and others that extends beyond my personal needs and helps others nurture their needs and those of their community.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your Jesuit education?
When I came to Loyola I had a very personal understanding of social justice as it relates to body sovereignty. Being at Loyola has allowed me to take my understanding of social justice and expand on it through theological classes as well as classes in feminist theory and social work. Coming to a Jesuit school that so values social justice has taught me the ways in which social justice can be integrated into everything. And that is an incredibly valuable lesson.
What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you?
I plan to work with LGBTQIA+ youth in some capacity. As a member of this community who did not while growing up have the necessary resources to foster those identities, I desperately wish to be those resources for young people now. I would like to help run an organization that is invested in the care of LGBTQIA+ people who have been further marginalized because of their documentation status and/or involvement with the juvenile justice system. Beyond that I do wish to teach at smaller community colleges and state schools, so there may be a PhD or two in my future, but further down the line.