The University’s third annual Weekend of Excellence will take place April 19-21. To prepare for the weekend, we want to introduce you to some of the outstanding students that will be recognized as part of the festivities. Up first is Marcella Perez. For a full list of events scheduled during the weekend, click here.
Marcella Perez, a junior biology and forensic science major, is the Multicultural Greek Council president, an active member and vice president of Delta Phi Lambda, section and spirit leader in Loyola’s pep band, and a dancer for “AfroDesent,” Loyola’s African dance team. Perez is also part of the women’s two-hand-touch football team “Rice Bowl,” which is part of the on-campus Filipino organization, KAPWA.
What has been a motivating factor for you in your work here at Loyola?
A huge motivating factor for me is the older generations and the future generations. Ever since I was little, I have dreamed of becoming a doctor. People said that I was too young to make such a serious decision. Now, I’m still working hard to become that doctor. I want to prove to the people who don’t believe in the students of my generation that we aren’t going to all be failures; there is still hope for our generation and future generations.
What ultimately sold you on coming to Loyola?
The great reputation the University has for its science programs was a big sell. I was recruited by other schools to run on their cross country and track teams, but in the end, academics came first. Loyola had such a close-knit community, it was in Chicago (the city I love), and it offered many new opportunities. I was looking for a school that could help me excel in my academics. Since I am on the pre-med track, I believed that Loyola was perfect for me. The fact that I received scholarships and grants from the University really helped me decide where I was going to go as well.
How did you get involved in research/service at Loyola?
Entering college, I had a passion for community service and helping people outside of school. We had a designated amount of service hours we had to complete by the time we graduated and I definitely exceeded the minimum. When I came to Loyola, it was natural for me to find service programs that I could participate in. My freshman and sophomore years, I volunteered with Loyola4Chicago at a homeless shelter off the Lawrence stop. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me since I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. More recently, I’ve be able to volunteer with my sorority, and being able to go out into the city of Chicago, volunteering for races, cleaning up neighborhoods, and helping out people who need it, puts a smile on my face.
What do you think differentiates Loyola from other universities?
I think what differentiates Loyola from other Universities is the fact that it is a Jesuit university and we are taught to uphold certain values. However, even though it is a Jesuit university, the school is still open to students from all faiths and it is accepting of all people. The diversity on campus is starting to improve as well. Also, the University is conscientious about the environment and supports protecting life on the lake.
What advice would you give students about how to get the best out of their education?
Keep an open mind. If you are close-minded, you will not get the most of your education because you are not accepting of other people’s views. The lessons you learn at Loyola might be from students, faculty, and staff that come from different backgrounds compared to where you came from.
What do you like most about Loyola?
I think the thing I like the most about Loyola is being able to be in a large city like Chicago, but still be a part of a close-knit community. Being able to enjoy the view of the lake during the year is also amazing. Chicago is a city of opportunity.