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Physics alumna and Ignatius Scholar serves others through peer mentorship

Each year, the Natural and Applied Sciences academic division awards the Choudhury Sarkar-Dey medal to an outstanding graduating senior who has shown remarkable commitment to diversity and community service during their time at Loyola.  We are proud to share with you the reflections submitted by the 2021 finalists, nominated by their faculty and departments, in this series of posts. 

Reflection from Loyola physics major Kenneth Marcelino, '21, Ignatius Scholar, STEM tutor, and peer mentor

By Kenneth Marcelino, '21, Physics major, 2021 Choudhury Sarkar-Dey Medal Finalist


Kenneth Marcelino, '21

My Loyola experience has been an eye-opening endeavor that has introduced me to different perspectives that I once thought were impossible for me to understand. As an immigrant from the Philippines, I had no idea how the college admissions cycle worked, I was faced with names of institutions that I was unfamiliar with because I only encountered them once I entered the US. Loyola was an institution that personally reached out to me to introduce their program and opportunities that I could tackle. The summer before my freshman year, I participated in the Ignatius Scholars Program and the FIRST pre-fall program. ISP introduced me to individuals of similar backgrounds. This experience enabled me to make connections with individuals that I am still fond of today. My cohort and I often help each other when it comes to expertise in our different majors. I often help out with the physics and math side of the core. Even though arduous, the Loyola core curriculum has helped me in terms of community service. I participated in volunteering efforts for Don Miller House, near the Loyola community, which helped me break out of the Loyola bubble that often surrounds the community. It exposed me to the realities of the community where we reside.

Perhaps the most active form of service I partake in is tutoring. I have been a tutor for the physics department since my second year at Loyola. It is one of my two jobs at Loyola (I have been a desk assistant since freshman year). As a tutor, I have observed that the difficulty often lies in the availability of exposure instead of the material itself. This lack in exposure varies between students. My years as a tutor has been spent learning how to bridge the gap in the various levels of the lack of familiarity in order to help the community better appreciate physics and to enforce the idea that the performance of a student in one class should not dictate one’s whole future. I like to think that tutoring has also been a way for me to serve as a mentor to other stem students. Being a mentor was not something that I wanted to be, but I have evolved into that role by continuously serving as a resource when it comes to my major and general life advice. Being a general advice mentor was the fruit of being a desk assistant for the freshman dorms of Loyola. I often help out with establishing familiarity with campus, core, and area.

To conclude, I am immensely thankful for my Loyola experience because it has allowed me to grow as a scientist and as a person. I can only hope that the institution I attend next will be as fruitful.