As Johnny Ngo prepares to leave the University of New Mexico behind, his experiences will remain with him.

“I’ve met a lot of prodigious advisors, professors and students, which made my time at the University memorable. Some courses and experiences that really opened up my mind were taking a class on curanderismo with Dr. Cheo Torres, a gender and communication (course) with Dr. Shinsuke Eguchi and various rhetoric courses with Dr. Michelle Kells,” Ngo said.

He will earn a bachelor’s degree in communications and law with a minor in technical and professional writing for the Fall 2017 semester.

These classes changed Ngo’s thought process, leading him to always be open-minded, he said.

“After all, we are all Lobos; diversity is what makes us a community,” Ngo said.

One recent experience at UNM that stood out to him the most was a vigil held at the Duck Pond a month or so ago, he said.

“I wasn’t sure what the vigil was for, but the sight was awe-inspiring,” Ngo said. “One of the things I can say about UNM was that Albuquerque has one of the most ethnically diverse groups that can come together at times of hardship or for positive support.”

Ngo’s plans for post-graduation have seen some small changes.

A year ago Ngo planned to move back to Seattle, Washington after graduation. However, the recent semester brought some changes to his life that pushed him in a different direction.

Originally, Ngo wanted to be a pharmacist but has now found his calling elsewhere with writing, he said.

“I found that with writing and being able to communicate with people, I was able to continue within the medical field but have the ability to design too,” he said.

Ngo obtained an internship at UNMH as a medical editor, which he plans to pursue, he said.

“While working at the hospital, I also plan to use my degree to work with the government,” Ngo said, adding that a medical, pharmaceutical and legal background may make him a good candidate for a position in the Department of Justice as well as Homeland Security.

Ngo’s family and friends are very excited to see him graduate, as he will be the first person in his immediate family to graduate from a university, he said.

“Not only that, but the only one to have two degrees,” Ngos said. “I am a returning graduate from Washington State where I previously obtained a B.S. in biology and chemistry.”

Through this, Ngo’s biggest support system throughout college was his family, he said.

“They would always push and challenge me to do better, but not overwhelming for it to become vexatious,” he said.

As graduation nears he gets more nervous, Ngo said.

“I am not sure why; it’s a good type of nervous though,” he said. “I feel accomplished and successful to not only make myself proud but my family too.”

As his own graduation approaches, Ngo encourages incoming students to figure out what their major and/or focus is.

He warns that if they do not, it’s going to be difficult.

“It’s not worth spending time taking classes you don’t need, especially if they’re switching their majors,” Ngo said.

A student should ensure their major is something they are interested insofar as this will make the college experience more memorable and enjoyable, he said.

Ngo said he also urges students to find a good advisor to assure smooth sailing throughout their college career as well as understand that hard work does pay off.

Nichole Harwood is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers alumni and art features. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.