Woman Wednesday: Jenna Ahn


This week’s #WomanWednesday was the role model I did not know I needed. I went to college confident I could glide through, make friends, find my new normal and exist as the best version of myself. PSYCHE. Through a twist and turn of events, Jenna had met and worked with my cousin Katie earlier that summer and that simple connection was all I needed to feel comfortable to confide in Jenna. The first couple months were hard and Jenna was there to push me in the snow when I needed a wake up call. The best thing about Jenna is she was never afraid to relay she didn’t know it all, but was always striving to figure it out. And thus her statement below:

"I'm not really that strong. On my own, I get overwhelmed, I eat chocolate for dinner sometimes, and I have a lot of doubts. Yet, I recognize that my real strength comes from the community of friends and family around me. I promise I'm not just being cliche when I say that the ways in which my friends and family have supported me throughout my life - whether by coming to visit me, listening to me ramble on the phone, writing me a letter, keeping me in their prayers, reminding me not to settle, sending me food, etc - give me the strength to be who I'm called to be.

When I moved to the Bay Area after working at an orphanage in Honduras for a year, I was exploring a start-up initiative (read: not making money) and straight up living in a converted loft in a house with three engineering dudes. I had somewhere between 1-2 friends in the Bay Area and realized I was pretty miserable at meeting strangers. And yet, my friends still believed in me and encouraged me to keep innovating and striving to imagine solutions for affordable and sustainable housing for low-income countries. Ultimately, my community was there for me in the few successes, the big failures, and the moments of unknowing and transition in-between.

Today, I'm in my first year as a master's student in the Keough School of Global Affairs at Notre Dame. I'm continuing to work on developing solutions for sustainable housing to alleviate the fact that 1.6 billion people will be without adequate housing by 2025. I don't believe I can affect change alone, but I am confident and strong because my community believes in me and in the change we can make together. I only hope that we can keep widening the circles of community to realize our interdependence across continents, cultures, and language. I believe in the power of the global community and recognize that my everyday choices affect the planet and the choices available to someone halfway across the world. And to that end, I choose to work for the common good of the global family."