Name: Nico Carpio Magpantay

Field of Study: B.A. Psychology and Intelligence Studies Certificate

Status: Undergraduate student  

Graduation Year: 2021

Hometown: Germantown, Maryland

Why did you choose Catholic University? As a first-generation student, I saw it as my responsibility to give back to my family and repay them for all the sacrifices they had to make to live in America. Both of my parents immigrated to America as young adults to find ways to support their family back home in the Philippines. They are both such hard working individuals and have instilled that work ethic in me. I know both of them have done so much for my life here and I wanted to give them the American college education that they worked hard for me to achieve.

"I learned and developed my Filipino-American identity and fell in love with both of my cultures."
– Nico Magpantay

What activities have you been involved with? I had the pleasure of being a part of many different organizations and positions at Catholic University. The first organization I joined as a freshman, and continue to be involved with as the current president, is the Filipino Organization of Catholic University Students, also known as FOCUS. It has been such a rewarding and fruitful experience to be a part of this organization's executive board for all of my four years at Catholic University. FOCUS has really become my family away from home. I felt so drawn to this organization because the members were all so welcoming and they immediately became some of my closest friends. The alumni have become my older brothers and sisters and the newer generations of students have been like younger siblings to me. Being on the FOCUS executive board all four years has also really taught me to grow in my leadership style and has shown me what works and what doesn't work within a team. Without everyone I have met in FOCUS and all the lessons I learned from being on the executive board for four years, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Favorite course: One of my favorite courses I have taken at Catholic University is American Sign Language (ASL) with Professor Mario Hernandez. I've always wanted to learn sign language because I am an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and I have picked up a lot of patients who only communicate by ASL. As an EMT, I want to be able to communicate past any language barrier and provide the best care to all of my patients. Learning ASL has been such an important skill in my life. There have been many occasions where I have gotten lunch at Union Market, next to Gallaudet University, and I have communicated with some of the vendors who are a part of the deaf community. Seeing the smile on their faces also brings a smile to my face. If anyone has the opportunity to learn ASL, I strongly urge them to do so!

What are your goals for the future? My future goal is to get a master's degree in forensic psychology, criminology, or intelligence collection and analysis. One day, I would also like to work for the Central Intelligence Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigation so that I can one day take part in the collection of intelligence from different sources and search for those who cause harm to the United States and its citizens.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on you? The one faculty member that has made such an impact in my time at Catholic University is Professor Brian McNelis. Professor McNelis was my professor for my public speaking course. He had a lot of charisma and had me think out of the box every single class. I initially took the class to help me strengthen and refine public speaking skills for my other classes, but what I really enjoyed about this class, and the reason it will go down as one of my favorite courses, is Professor McNelis’ teaching style. He isn't like many professors. Professor McNelis has experience working as a clown and this is seen in his teachings. He is very warm, charismatic, in your face, and memorable. That is what he would always push us to achieve in every speech.

What makes Catholic University unique? What made Catholic unique to me is the ability to create your identity. I learned and developed my Filipino-American identity and fell in love with both of my cultures.

Proudest accomplishment: I would say my biggest accomplishment at Catholic University has been being the president of FOCUS. Never in my four years at Catholic would I have thought that I would one day be the president of this amazing organization. FOCUS has accomplished so much in my four years at Catholic University and I am proud of all of the members. In two of my four years on the executive board, the organization was able to win Organization of the Year! I am also so proud of the current FOCUS executive board. The board is mostly comprised of sophomores and freshmen and even with their limited experience, they have really worked hard during this virtual semester to make sure that everyone gets a good student experience. Without this board and their constant efforts, this virtual semester would have been so stale. We were able to pull off hybrid events and had a successful fundraiser for the recent typhoons that occurred in the Philippines. We were able to raise over $1,000 in aid for the Philippine Red Cross! I am also proud of the efforts of my fellow organizations in what we dub the “Culture Squad” (BSA, CUAllies, FOCUS, and SOL). Under the direction of Javier Bustamante and the Center of Cultural Engagement, these organizations have worked in tandem to maintain cultural and student life experiences in this virtual age. I am so proud of all the efforts made to bring some sense of normal in these frustrating and unpredictable times.

What Catholic University means to you: All the times that FOCUS was asked to perform at different Catholic University events were a special experience for me. Our members were always so excited and always so pumped to get invited and we would work so hard to make sure the choreographies were perfect. I never had dancing experience before coming to CUA and 4 years later I help with making choreography for every performance. The late nights rehearsing with friends, the group dinners, and of course all the fun we brought to the events are what I will always look back at when reflecting on my time at Catholic University.