Jordan Ogawa explores the importance of Intercultural Programs


Riley Bream

Jordan Ogawa, Co-leader of the Asian Students Association

Lexi McWilliams , Features Editor

Third-year student Jordan Ogawa has adopted many valuable roles during her time at  Westmont. To name a few, she is a biology and chemistry double-major on the pre-health track, a clarinet player for the orchestra and a co-leader of the Asian Students Association (ASA). 

Ogawa spent the majority of her childhood in San Jose before attending Westmont. She first visited Westmont during an Augustinian event, where she was enraptured by the community and supportive environment throughout the campus. Like many students, Ogawa says she “didn’t know if going to a Christian college would really supplement my faith.” However, now that she’s become better acquainted with the college, she says, “I appreciate the fact that my faith isn’t stigmatized in the classroom.” 

The support and encouragement Ogawa received is what led her to participate in the Westmont orchestra, where she now plays the clarinet. Ogawa reflects on her time in the orchestra, saying, “I enjoy the community and I do [orchestra] because I enjoy it.” 

Aside from her academic and musical contributions to Westmont, Ogawa also plays a pivotal role in one of the intercultural programs on campus. Ogawa is currently in her second year of co-leading for ASA. As a first-year student at Westmont, Ogawa had a difficult time feeling like she belonged. Due to encouragement from another student, Ogawa became a member of ASA. Ogawa made the decision to co-lead the organization in her sophomore year saying, “It felt right for me to be a part of ASA as a co-leader.” 

Ogawa states that Intercultural Programs (ICP) have the potential to be a “safe space for students of color on Westmont’s campus. Westmont can be an academically intense school, as well as [having the] social pressure to fit in. ICP is a more relaxed setting where you can just be who you are.” 

Although Ogawa can see the wonderful impacts of ICP on Westmont’s culture, she believes there is still room for improvement. Ogawa considers ASA a place for education and support, but she adds that “a lot of people come to Westmont with preconceived notions about ICP.” This results in ICP being an underutilized resource by Westmont’s students. 

In her experience, ICP has influenced Ogawa because it “has given me a lot of cultural and racial awareness that will impact how I interact with the world.” Ogawa is confident that the mindfulness she learned through her participation in ICP will help her be a better healthcare provider in her future after Westmont. 

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