Erika Ngo: Social Justice advocate, swimmer, and psychology researcher

Patrice Gomez

CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR

You may see her in the library tutoring, in the pool competing in the 200-meter breaststroke, or in the Psychology Department researching — that’s because fourth-year Erika Ngo is passionate about all these things. Ngo is a psychology major who focuses on the implications of prejudice and social injustice. 

Ngo is very active in her major, and is assists Associate Professor of Psychology Christina L. Scott with her research on relationships and sexual behaviors. “It is going to sound cliché, but Dr. Scott has been one of my [biggest] influences over these past years at Whittier College,” said Ngo. “Not only can I go to her as my advisor, but I can go to her for anything. Her classes have made me improve on my communication skills and also have been able to give me so many opportunities at Whittier.”

When she is not in the Science and Learning Center (SLC), Ngo is training in the pool with her Swimming and Diving teammates. She competes in the 100-meter and 200-meter Breaststroke and the Individual Medleys, and she hopes to make it to preliminaries this season. Ngo made it to preliminaries both as a first-year and second-year and dreams of taking home the gold as a fourth-year. “Being in Swim has been one of my best experiences here. My teammates have become some of my closest friends,” Ngo said. “Swim has taught me to time manage because academics and Swim are both so important to me, and learning how to balance both has made me grow. I am proud that I can call myself a student-athlete, because not everyone can say that.”

Aside from school and athletics, Ngo has learned to balance her other passions too. Ngo believes in social equality and giving back to the community. Over the summer, she completed an internship at the Center for Asian Americans United and Self Evolving (CAUSE), which helps Asian Americans and underrepresented communities. Ngo worked for nine weeks with a leadership academy and observed the process of how bills are written and passed. In addition, she also worked in-office and got a taste of what politics and advocacy would be like. “As a person who is Asian-American, I always believe in giving back to the community, and this internship has given me hands-on experience on what goes on in politics. I really believe in reaching out and helping others who are underrepresented,” said Ngo. “I hope to use my degree in psychology to try to study the psychology of prejudice and work on advocacy.”

Ngo is in her last year at Whittier before she graduates. As someone who is so involved, Ngo has many memories from her experiences at Whittier that it was hard to choose a favorite. “I have definitely grown in my four years at Whittier, [whether] it was with my roommate, friends, [or] Swim. Just being a peer mentor and seeing my peers understand the material is so gratifying,” said Ngo. 

After graduation, Ngo will apply to fellowships in Sacramento and hopes to go to law school to continue to give back to a diverse community.

 Courtesy of Erika Ngo

Courtesy of Erika Ngo

 Courtesy of Erika Ngo

Courtesy of Erika Ngo