Morgan Villavaso (BS '19)

Morgan Villavaso walks through New York City on a summer day.

Recent graduate Morgan Villavaso chose to attend TWU because she was inspired by its purpose and mission, which is “rooted in the truth that educating women empowers the world.” She chose to study sociology because of its humanitarian focus. “Sociology taught me to move through the world with a conscientious and critical lens,” said Villavaso.

While pursuing her education, Villavaso learned to burn the candle at both ends. “At several points in my undergraduate career, I simultaneously held a full-time class schedule, an off-campus occupation, an on-campus occupation, an extracurricular leadership position, and weekly volunteer commitments while supporting myself financially and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.”

Among her many undergraduate achievements, Villavaso received the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant in 2019, which will allow her to teach English in Malaysia beginning in January 2020 and ending in November 2020.

Working as a reporter connected me with so many amazing people doing truly powerful work in the community.

Villavaso’s professional role models are law partners and attorneys Julie Glover and Adam Luck, of the GloverLuck Law Firm. “Julie and Adam represent veterans in appeals for disability benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs. This area of law caters to a vulnerable client base battling homelessness, military sexual trauma, severe mental health conditions, substance abuse and more.”

While working as the firm’s legal assistant, Villavaso watched Julie and Adam change people's lives through the work that they do. “They have shown me how the law can be applied to uplift individuals on the margins of society. Moreover, Julie and Adam have shown me how the law can be used as a vehicle for social justice. In doing so, they have played a vital role in my decision to apply to law school.” 

Following the completion of her Fulbright grant, Villavaso plans to pursue her Juris Doctor degree and aspires toward a legal career working with non-governmental organizations focused on transnational human rights.

In April 2018, I went to Dr. Lo's office and told her that I was interested in participating in the Department of Sociology's undergraduate research initiative, and that I wanted to undertake a research project on international human rights and gender.

Many of Villavaso’s favorite memories from her time at TWU came from her experiences writing for The Lasso. “Working as a reporter connected me with so many amazing people doing truly powerful work in the community. Some of the most inspiring and mobilizing interviews I remember were with the founders of Denton Black Film Festival, a student artist facing censorship, the keynote speaker of a Transgender Day of Remembrance event, and a student spreading awareness about food insecurity on campus. I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege of telling their stories.”

Villavaso counts sociology professor and chair Celia Lo, Ph.D., among her many mentors. “In April 2018, I went to Dr. Lo's office and told her that I was interested in participating in the Department of Sociology's undergraduate research initiative, and that I wanted to undertake a research project on international human rights and gender. She responded with enthusiastic support, and she has continued to support me in my academic and professional pursuits ever since.”

In August 2019, and Lo and Villavaso presented their co-authored paper "Regional Variation in the Achievement of Women's Human Rights across Three Decades" at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Villavaso was the only presenter in the session who was neither a professor nor a Ph.D. student.

At several points in my undergraduate career, I simultaneously held a full-time class schedule, an off-campus occupation, an on-campus occupation, an extracurricular leadership position, and weekly volunteer commitments while supporting myself financially and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Media Contact

Anna Ryan
Writer
940-898-3325
aryan1@twu.edu

Page last updated 11:03 AM, October 1, 2019