Name: Marinella Nicole (Nikki) Lumbre

Field of Study: Anthropology, Asian Studies Minor

Status: Alumna  

Graduation Year: B.A. 2020

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Why did you choose Catholic University? Having both of my older siblings attend and graduate from CUA, I knew I had to complete the tradition being the youngest in the family. Even though I followed in their footsteps by applying, I was still able to make my own identity through the many activities and organizations on campus. I also knew that staying in D.C. would be beneficial because of the myriad of job, volunteer, and cultural opportunities. Finally, the faith aspect was very important to my family and me. Having the many chapels and the Basilica on the same grounds was a big plus.

Organizations and activities: All four years of being at Catholic, I was heavily involved in the Filipino Organization of Catholic University Students. Coming into CUA, I knew that I wanted to participate as I was very proud of my culture and heritage, but I found more than just that through the years. I gained another family through FOCUS and learned more about the Filipino culture and how each person expresses it. I have also been a part of Chinese Club, as well as a student employee in the Center for Cultural Engagement and the Housing Services Office.

"I gained another family through FOCUS and learned more about the Filipino culture"
– Nikki Lumbre

Favorite course: One of my favorite courses has to be the Chinese language courses taught by Professor Shufen Hwang. I took Spanish classes for 12 years and wanted to learn something new, so I felt that the challenge of learning Chinese would be a good fit for me. I went into this course with no prior knowledge of the language or the culture so I was terrified of how I would do, but I was warmly welcomed by Professor Hwang and I ended up loving each class I had with her. She really knows how to combine the learning styles of each student and provide the necessary tools and resources to make sure each student progresses and excels at their own pace. She teaches in a really modern way and always ties in real life examples to what we learn. Without her guidance, I don't think I would have picked up the Asian Studies minor or even loved the course this much.

Goals: My plan for post-grad is to serve in the Peace Corps as an English teacher in Madagascar. I was never really sure of what I wanted to do career-wise, but I always knew that I wanted to do some kind of service, especially international service where I could experience what the world felt like for others. I would like to carry this on when I return from service and hopefully work for organizations or nonprofits that focus on serving others.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on you? A staff member who has been a great impact on my college career and for the rest of my life is Joe Duncan, the Assistant Director in the Housing Services Office. He is such an integral part for many students living on campus, but it is easy for him to be overlooked, so I would like to shed light on his wonderful persona. I applied to be one of his staff members for the summer of 2019 in hopes to earn some money and to keep busy during the summer, but my experiences while on the team gave me so much more than that. Joe is a very dedicated person to his job and to his team members, and every day that I came in to work, I could feel his genuine spirit and bright energy for having us there. Teamwork is necessary in so many aspects of life, but Joe taught us about it in such a different way. It was very inspiring to see how faith directed his work ethic and how much of a family the CUA community has become to him. I can say with confidence that applying to be a part of the Housing Services team was one of the best decisions I made while at Catholic, and I have to thank Joe for giving me such an amazing experience while on the team.

What makes Catholic University unique? To me, the most unique aspect of Catholic University is the size and the community feeling. One of the things that I loved about being a student at CUA was having smaller class sizes and being able to get to know my fellow classmates and professors. I was happy that all of my professors were able to teach us on a more individual and personal level and that I was able to make friends with people in different grades and majors as me. Because CUA is on the smaller side, I really felt like I had an entire family on campus whenever I saw or had classes with people I knew. It all felt very comforting.

Awards/recognition: During my senior year, I was awarded with the Right Reverend Denis J. O'Connell Award. I was very surprised and emotional when I received this award because throughout my four years at CUA, I never really thought I made much of an impact to the CUA community. I always thought that I was just another student, commuting from home to school each day, and participating in what I thought was interesting. But after four years, I was recognized by the school for my efforts and participation in student organizations. I never did things because I wanted recognition for it, but rather because I liked to stay active and I wanted to represent my interests. I'm a very passionate person when it comes to things that I love, so it just made me incredibly happy and grateful that others also saw that in me.

Proudest accomplishment: Out of everything that I have done at CUA, the one thing that I am most proud of is that I was able to make a name for myself. Being the youngest of three children, who graduated successfully and left their own marks, I always found it difficult to find things for myself. I also found it difficult being an active CUA member as a commuter, but I didn't want these things to block me from growing. I wanted to take advantage of the great community of students and staff at CUA and show myself, who I truly am and what I loved doing. I wanted to put myself out there, whether it was chatting with President Garvey in the Starbucks line in the morning, becoming the president of FOCUS, or working for various student employee positions, I wanted to branch out and break out of my shy and reserved shell. I've met so many incredible people and they have impacted my life as much as I have their's, and I couldn't have asked for more. It may be considered something small, but other than academics, I really have to thank CUA for being that warm and welcoming community that fostered this spirit in me to grow into a better version of myself.

What Catholic University means to you: One experience that I will never forget is the Light the Way campaign. Attending the event and even performing during it really showed me how close of a community CUA really is. Everyone, from current students to alumni, showed up and showed support for the betterment of the University, especially for the future generations of students and staff. I had such a warm feeling looking at everyone enjoying the activities and watching the inspirational video documenting the improvements the University had and will continue to go through. In that moment, it made me incredibly proud to say that I am a part of the Catholic University family.