NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In addition to being a member of Vanderbilt’s national champion bowling team, senior Jen Loredo finds comfort and belonging in her Filipino American identity.
Named the MVP of the 2023 NCAA Bowling Tournament, Loredo is pursuing a degree in law, history and society and hopes to become an attorney. She is also a member of the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Honor Council.
This past summer, she worked for the Vanderbilt Office of the General Counsel as a law clerk where she taught attorneys about social media and how it can apply in legal cases. The experience gave Loredo the reassurance that she wanted to pursue a career in law after graduating from Vanderbilt.
“I learned so much about the legal process and the behind-the-scenes work to make students’ time at Vanderbilt fun and safe,” Loredo said. “The other clerks in law school were really honest about their process, but they were super kind and encouraging. The attorneys shared some of the most rewarding parts of their job, and their passion was so inspiring.”
Specifically, she wants to work in immigration law, a choice which she says was fueled by her parents’ experiences. Loredo’s father came to the United States first in the 90s, followed by her mother, brother and sister. She was born shortly after.
“Hearing their experience coming here, the good and the bad, has really shaped who I am today,” Loredo said. “It gave me a new appreciation for every sacrifice they’ve made. It’s really given me perspective on the difficulties in not only transitioning to a new country but having a new language.”
Big parties for Christmas and Thanksgiving with traditional Filipino dinners are something to which Loredo loves returning home.
“It gives me a sense of familiarity that I find comfort with,” she said.
Because of the university’s COVID-19 guidelines during her freshman year, Loredo remembers her sophomore year as the time when she really started getting involved and finding belonging with the Filipino American community at Vanderbilt. That year, she attended her first Philippine Intercultural Student Organization meeting.
“I’ve met some great people through that organization,” Loredo said. “Some of the people, who I am still close with to this day, are now on the exec board. Getting that sense of community, even thousands of miles away from home is so comforting and having people who share similar experiences with me is very comforting.”
Loredo has accomplished several firsts in bowling for the Filipino American community. In 2017, she became the first Filipina American to win at Junior Gold and was also the first to be named to Junior Team USA.
“It is honestly such an honor [to have been the first to accomplish these feats], and to have everyone in the Filipino American community back me is so important.” Loredo said. “The Filipino population is not that big in bowling, so to be the predecessor for all of this is such an honor, and there’s nothing like it.”