Farewell from Manresa Fellow Anja Asato

When I sat down to write my application essay to Fordham four years ago, I sought to identify the value most important to who I was as a person. I wrote about the “Spirit of Aloha,” a definitive aspect of my family’s culture, which meant a special care for family, friends, community, and to becoming a better version of yourself. Becoming the Manresa Fellow was a surprising turn in my undergraduate career because oddly enough, I was not in the Manresa Program during my freshman year. When I completed my sophomore year, I was so caught up in my academics, internship, clubs, and friends, that I rarely made a conscious effort to remember this sense of Aloha and care.

The Manresa Scholars Program was my “Spirit of Aloha” at Fordham. Not only did I experience the care from the staff, speakers, and students for their work, community, and goals, but I also had the opportunity to practice care by contributing to the overall workings of the Manresa Scholars Program. I truly gained a sense of being part of the Fordham community and was constantly inspired by both the students and faculty to learn more, challenge myself, and work toward a better community.

As my term as the Manresa Fellow comes to a close, I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from this remarkable program, while serving the Fordham community. I’ve done things that I never would have expected myself to participate in, such as helping to lead a retreat, facilitating alumni panels, or establishing relationships with faculty and leaders from local organizations. Through reflection programs, I learned about myself and through dinner-colloquiua, I was challenged to contemplate new ideas and issues and question my own beliefs. I leave the program with a renewed sense of self, confidence in my abilities, and community of like-minded individuals.

I am extremely thankful to everyone in Manresa for their commitment to community, service, and learning. I am especially grateful to have had the opportunity to work under the mentorship of Dean Parmach and Mr. Mike Rametta, who inspired me with their dedication, professionalism, and embodiment of the Jesuit values.

I look forward to seeing where Manresa is headed in the coming years. I am certain that the program will continue to provide students with an enriching academic and community experience, while serving not only the Manresa Scholars, but also the greater Fordham and Bronx communities.

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