Student Named One of Magazine's Top 10 College Women
January 6, 2010 – A government major who has received numerous scholarships has been named one of Glamour magazine’s Top 10 College Women of 2009 for her work mentoring underserved youth.
“I want to be a woman for others,” says Pamela Nwaoko (C’10), referring to the university’s Jesuit tradition. “I have a desire to give back and the desire to succeed not just for me, but so I can be a role model.”
Nwaoko benefited from a high school academic enrichment program in her hometown in Irvington, N.J. Ghd program, called NJ SEEDS, seeks out academically gifted young people with financial limitations and help thems succeed at competitive secondary schools.
Now she shares her love of learning with students in Washington, D.C., as a mentor for Girl Talk, a program run through the university’s Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching and Service.
Designed to promote awareness and support for secondary school girls in D.C., the program partners with nearby Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts to provide workshops and group discussions on gender-related issues, eating disorders, self-esteem and sexual harassment.
One discussion focused on women of color in the field of government and politics. Nwaoko notes that before Michelle Obama, many of the girls she mentors had difficulty thinking of such individuals in the public eye.
“I told them they are the ones who have to break those barriers,” she says. Glamour recognized Nwaoko for being a role model and a powerful woman.
Living for Others
In addition to Girl Talk, Nwaoko participates in the Kids to College Program through Georgetown’s Center for Multicultural Equity & Access.
“We help D.C. youth by planting in their minds early the benefits of a college education,” Nwaoko says. “We engage them in coursework, offer them advice, provide educational materials and share our own stories with them.”
Nwaoko is considering law school and hopes to become a judge one day and plans to continue mentoring.
“The best way to live is not for yourself," she says, recalling what Rev. James Schall, S.J. advised in a philosophy class. You can’t know of your own existence by looking in the mirror. You can only know your own existence by interacting with other people,” she says.