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Political science major finds calling through service

Ismael Luna

Ismael Luna, ’22, was a student at Riverside University High School in Milwaukee when he first crossed the threshold at Stritch on a high school field trip. He felt comfortable here immediately, and the feeling grew stronger after he applied and began working with his admissions counselor.

“Stritch has always felt like family to me,” said Luna. “Professors, advisors, financial aid counselors - they are all willing to spend time, answer questions and connect you with resources to support your success.”

Luna’s family life has been a bit tumultuous. His father left when Luna was very young, leaving his mother to raise five children on her own.

“The one thing my mom was strict about was that we all finish high school,” he said. “We all thought about dropping out at one point or another, but my mom threatened to stand outside our classrooms to make sure we finished.”

Luna says his mother also raised them to be resilient.

“Bad things happen all the time, and you can be sad, she would say, but you also have to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.”

Luna admits that he first applied for the Franciscan Servant Scholar Program because he saw it as a way to get financial aid. In addition to receiving a small scholarship, students form an intentional learning community as they meet regularly to pray, engage in service and reflect on who they are meant to be.

“The more I reached out to help others through the program, I realized what a good feeling that was, and now it is really important to me,” Luna said.

Through the Franciscan Servant Scholars, Luna has worked on service projects at the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi Motherhouse and St. Ben’s Meal Program. Service has become so much a part of who he is, that on his own, he has begun to regularly purchase personal hygiene items and deliver them to a community shelter. A political science major, Luna hopes to run for political office one day and serve the community as an elected official.