Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center


Connecting with the Jesuit Refugee Service

Connecting with the Jesuit Refugee Service

Photo Credit: Andy Ash/ Jesuit Refugee Service

Before becoming the International Communications Assistant for the JRS, Jacquelyn Pavilon worked as a corporate gaming mathematician at WMS Gaming, Inc., designing algorithms for casino gaming software. Out of college, the job seemed like one she couldn’t refuse, but she began feeling that she was doing more harm than good. Today, Jacquelyn now holds a position she actually applied twice for. She wanted to work in a large international organization, and followed the JRS position all the way to Rome.

Ethnically half Italian, Jacquelyn is enjoying getting in touch with her Italian roots, but her real focus is her work. Founded in 1980 by Fr General Arrupe, the Jesuit Refugee Service operates in 50 countries worldwide serving, accompanying, and advocating for refugees. The JRS “serves the most vulnerable people. I like that every day I know I'm doing something good for the world,” she says. In addition to writing and editing articles for her position, Jacquelyn also administers the social media, assists with event planning, translates, and manages the JRS website in four languages. “The job can of course be overwhelming and draining, but at the end of the day, I know that what I am doing is making a difference in people's lives. I know that I am helping people who have nothing, and I go to bed exhausted, yet fulfilled. My efforts don't have monetary or self-interested rewards, but human ones.”

To say that Jacquelyn loves her job is an understatement. “When I was a student at the JFRC, I volunteered at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, and I found myself there.” What began as a volunteer opportunity has become a career path for this JFRC alum. Students at the JFRC have a truly unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and immerse themselves in another culture. Jacquelyn has found her passion in life, and hopes that JFRC students can find theirs too.

The JRS is an incredible organization, and Jacquelyn is a great resource. We encourage students to reach out and get involved in JRS events and initiatives that are happening on and off campus!

For more information about how you can get involved with the Jesuit Refugee Service during your time abroad at the JFRC email jacquelyn.pavilon@jrs.net