Student Spotlight: Liz Dong
Major: Associate in Arts
College of DuPage was not Liz Dong’s first choice.
In fact, she was accepted into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business. However, due to immigration status and financial difficulties, she was unable to attend and turned to COD.
“COD turned out to be my best choice, given its affordability and excellent academic program that I would come to discover,” she said. “I had an incredibly enriching experience at COD in and outside of the classroom. I learned from professors like Chris Miller, Kent Richter, Ida Hagman and many others who were not only experts in their subject areas but also teachers who cared about their students as people.”
Beyond the classroom, COD offered Dong opportunities to develop her leadership skills through campus and co-curricular activities. She was involved with the Student Leadership Council, Alpha Beta Gamma and 1Stone Christian Fellowship, all of which she credits as playing a significant role in her personal and/or faith development.
By the time Dong graduated with her Associate in Arts degree, with concentrations in communication and business, she had received several impressive awards: the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship for community college students, a national award that covers educational expenses as the recipient pursues a bachelor’s degree; First Team of the All-USA Community College Academic Competition; and Outstanding Graduate at College of DuPage.
“I’m humbled by the awards. There were many deserving candidates – some of them were my friends at COD and continue to be!” she said. “I couldn’t have achieved nearly as much without the support and encouragement of many people at COD: professors, staff members and friends. For me, the recognitions serve as reminders to keep learning and pursuing meaningful work that make an impact in my community.”
Dong transferred to Northwestern University and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. She initially worked in marketing and business development for a small business before obtaining her current position in immigration advocacy at World Relief, a non-profit organization focused on refugee resettlement and immigrant legal services in the U.S. and humanitarian relief efforts internationally.
“Immigration is to me both a personal issue, having struggled with a broken system myself, and a biblical justice issue, knowing that millions of undocumented immigrants live in the shadows of society, many of whom fall vulnerable to exploitation and face the threat of separation from their families,” she said. “In my current role, I help coordinate mobilization efforts around the country, empowering evangelical churches and Christians, in particular, to serve and advocate on behalf of immigrants in their communities.
“While immigration has become my focus currently – and I believe that the much-needed comprehensive immigration reform will pass in this country – I hope to work more with children and families in poverty in the future.”
Dong now has received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Continuing Scholar Graduate Award and has started her MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 2017, she will spend the summer studying abroad at the University of Wiswatersrand in South Africa as part of a full-time exchange program with Chicago Booth. Her career goal is to integrate business and ministry to empower vulnerable communities.
As for College of DuPage, she is deeply grateful for the opportunities she received and for the people who believed in her.
“If you will commit to working hard, building meaningful relationships with the people here and pursuing the many opportunities that COD has to offer, College of DuPage will no doubt bring you closer to your educational and career goals,” she said. “The stories of my COD classmates, many of whom have overcome tremendous challenges to be in school, continue to inspire me to this day to never take my education for granted and to never give up.
“I’m very proud to be a COD alum. When people ask me where I went for my undergrad, I tell them College of DuPage and Northwestern.”
College of DuPage
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2018 College of DuPage