Graduating Greyhounds 2015: Felisa Velasco

By Stephanie Weaver  |  Photo courtesy of Felisa Velasco, '15

Spotlight on

Felisa Velasco


Jersey City, New Jersey


Biology/Photography Interdisciplinary Major

Campus involvement

Campus Ministry, Loyola InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Chosen Generation Gospel Choir, Chapel Choir, Koinonia, and Tri-Beta

Plans after graduation

I will be attending University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine.

How I chose my path

My love for both art and biology has geared me toward the profession of dentistry. Dentistry is a profession in which you use your hands constantly, with care and precision. What really solidified my path was my mission work in the Philippines.

Every three years, my family and I host a Dental Mission in a particular province in the Philippines. My mother is a dentist and I’ve admire her selfless work for the Filipino community. Since I have experience in working at an orthodontic office, I help by sterilizing and assisting my mother as she treates. Then, during breaks, I play the guitar and my sister sings for the children. It is just amazing how positive the children are despite their financial means.

For example, a mother started to cry while she was talking to me because she was grateful that she and her children had the chance to gain a healthy smile. At that moment, it became clear that dentistry was the profession for me. I wanted to give more of myself to others in a profession that could accommodate the two disciplines of my study.  My experience at Loyola has really prepared me academically for my career path, and opened me to diverse experiences such as music, photography, and research.

Favorite Loyola memory

Loyola has brought me so many special memories. I think playing with my band, UnBroken, in McGuire Hall for Relay for Life was definitely a great experience! It’s always a great feeling when you play your original songs and the crowd loves it. I couldn’t stop smiling.  We were very blessed that many of our friend were their cheering us on. It is definitely a memory I will never forget!

The professor who had the biggest impact on me and why

Dr. Brian Norman. I admire Dr. Norman’s heart and passion for social justice. He is truly a strong advocate for those who don’t have a voice. He is fearless and always ready to act. Most of all, Dr. Norman cares for his students. My day always gets brighter when I bump into him on campus. He inspired me to never be afraid of what I believe in and to always be an advocate. This past year, I enjoyed working alongside Dr. Norman in regards to the racial injustices that have transpired this year, and I want to continue to implement social justice in my future career.

My strong truth/how the Jesuit college experience shaped me

My strong truth is: “True leadership is not in the titles. Leadership is about sacrifice and standing for what you believe in, even when the majority may not agree.”

Throughout my time at Loyola, I explored many new passions such as faith, service, music, and photography. However, one identity I was not pursuing as much was my Asian-American identity on Loyola’s campus. I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jerseya melting pot of all races and ethnicities. I never thought of myself as a “minority” until coming to Loyola. I noticed that my campus, was predominately white. However, I didn’t want that to stop me from coming to this amazing university.

Stories of Solidarity

On December 8, 2014, everything changed. Our campus had an After Ferguson: Community Reflection. This was a chance for Loyola students to reflect together as a community about racial justice. In the midst of events in Ferguson last semester, I felt a bit uneasy and uncomfortable. During the After Ferguson discussion, my friend shared her thoughts. I remember tears were rolling down her face.  She shared that she is scared the day she gives birth to a son, because of his skin color; she has to teach him to act differently our world. This struck a chord within me. Our campus was divided on what actions to take next because it was in the midst of finals. However, I knew I needed to do something.

I decided to create Stories in Solidarity— a photo project on Facebook where Loyola students can share their stories about racial justice. Patrick Range, my theology professor, always told our class that “every story is sacred.” I live by that phrase to this day. There is a grace in a story, and I wanted to make sure every person on campus had a voice.  I am very thankful that on April 21, CCSJ, Campus Ministry, ALANA, the Counseling Center, and Academic Affairs wanted to sponsor an event dedicated to Stories in Solidarity.

Stories in Solidarity is about our students and how we can bring more awareness to our campus. Thankfully, the event in April was a huge success. Many people were touched by the stories of our Loyola students. Unfortunately, the fight for justice never stops. With the recent events in Baltimore, Stories in Solidarity continues to share the thoughts and stories of our students. Loyola’s Jesuit values really molded my into the woman I am today.

Shout outs to…

God, my family, Lange40C sisters, Class of 2015, and my Campus Ministry & InterVarsity family.

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