Miriam Figueroa, a third year student at Northern Illinois University, studies how nonprofit and humanitarian groups impact her local community and the world. Her interests in immigrant rights, world cultures, and social justice have been strongly influenced by experiences she had growing up. Miriam has served since high school as an events and activities planner for her home church, encouraging youth and adults to engage in service opportunities in the larger community. In this context, she is able to help them understand the dynamics of receiving and serving. She has served abroad in Guatemala and China, and currently works with international students at Northern Illinois University, helping them acclimate to the U.S. educational system while expanding her own global perspective. Additionally, she works with a campus faith-based organization to help students from different backgrounds and nationalities explore faith and social justice issues. Miriam strives to make positive change for under-resourced and marginalized communities, and she currently collaborates with students from a variety of organizations to explore the empowerment and community-building available through service and humanitarianism.
I want to live my life to serve others. Being a Nonprofit and NGO Studies major has equipped me with valuable management skills, educated me on social problems, and has taught me how I can make an impact even in my own local community. My interests in immigrant rights and social justice have been strongly influenced by experiences I’ve had growing up. One of these is serving at my home church where I helped plan volunteer opportunities and outreach, lead bilingual worship, mentor youth, and attend mission trips. Ever since my humanitarian trip to Guatemala, I knew that I wanted my future career to bring hope to the people I serve. Currently, I am involved in the Foreign Language Residence Program (FLRP), a group where I can work on my French and Spanish skills, and also learn about different world cultures. Through this group I have had the opportunity to travel to China and even create friendships with international students studying at NIU. Serving as a leader in my campus ministry group called Cru has allowed me to grow my confidence as a leader and help create a welcoming environment to talk about faith and encourage one another in community.