If the past few years have taught UNCG students anything, it’s that perseverance, flexibility, and creativity are required to navigate what you plan to do and what life brings to you. UNCG senior Jenny Lois Francisco originally was attracted to the study abroad program that would allow her to expand on her passion for environmental sustainability–but a global pandemic had other plans.
With study abroad programs halted in 2020, Francisco – a commuter student born in the Philippines and living in the Triad–looked for other ways to enhance her college experience and joined the Lloyd International Honors College (LIHC). What she found was a community that expanded her horizons and perspectives the way she had hoped study abroad would.
“The professors and Dr. Ali created a culture of support, intentionality, inclusion, and equity. It has really nurtured my love for interdisciplinary learning,” she says. One course during her freshman year, in particular, impacted the trajectory of her time in the LIHC.
“‘Conversations that Changed the World’ was such a great way to ease into the rest of my college experience. It was a wonderful foundation to not only network with other students who really want to learn, it also prepared me for all the opportunities that unraveled from the Honors College,” she states.
One of those opportunities is serving as the current editor for the Y Ddraig Goch: An Interdisciplinary Honors Journal. In addition, she was inspired to expand on her academic pursuits.
“Learning from the professors’ love for the environment and sustainability is just so contagious,” says Francisco. And, after an advisor nudged her to consider sociology, she decided to pursue a double major.
Francisco plans to utilize her double major in environmental safety and sustainability and sociology to establish a career in agriculture and food education, and she is considering pursuing a law degree as well.
Besides working at the Honors Journal, Francisco has also dug into opportunities in Greensboro. In the spring of 2022, she interned on a local farm and became a guest services associate at the Greensboro Children’s Museum.
“Something that will feed my soul is going into a career that combines agriculture and food education, re-establishing what farming is, and teaching that to younger children, future farmers, and cultivators,” she says.
Through the interdisciplinary culture of LIHC and opportunities beyond the classroom, Francisco gained the multifaceted perspective she was looking for as a college freshman thwarted by the pandemic. In these unique times, she has maintained agility, determination, and a thirst for the forward-thinking opportunities that broaden and enhance her goals for the future.
Story by Emily Faulkner for Manning Words, Inc.
Photography by David Lee Row