Jacqline Murillo, Philosophy ‘16, MPH ‘18

A Study in Passion and Faith

Jacqline Murillo’s transformation takes shape in the city by the bay.

The summer before Jacqline Murillo ’16 started her senior year of high school, she worked in a rural village in Kenya, building latrines, teaching elementary school students, and tending to a community garden.

"That really changed my life," says Jacqline, a USF philosophy major with a pre-health emphasis who's also enrolled in the Master’s in Public Health dual degree program. "I began to understand how other people live very differently. I became aware of the privilege I'd been born into."

She returned home with a deep interest in marginalized communities and their access to health care. Now the St. Ignatius Institute honors student plans to become a physician and spend a year or two in developing countries as part of Doctors Without Borders — and eventually run a mobile clinic.

When she was researching colleges, she selected USF because of the university's mission to educate students to serve the common good. "I wanted a place to foster the change and transformation that happened to me in Kenya," Jacqline says.

"I truly love USF," she says. “I really appreciate the full-fledged liberal arts education. In philosophy, I'm developing these intense critical thinking skills. And in public health, USF has focused on justice in health care and on those who are not asked to be part of the conversation."

I Googled USF. I went to the mission and value statement, and I was sold. That's really what did it for me. Social justice stuck out for me. And diversity. And just general holistic pedagogy."

During her sophomore year, another metamorphosis occurred: Jacqline, an atheist like her parents, embraced Jesuit Catholicism. "It's a very different faith than my parents grew up with. They saw a lot of hypocrisy,” Jacqline says. “At USF, I saw that justice is inherent to faith."

Jacqline grew up in the Netherlands, except for six years in Michigan and New Mexico. Her mother is American and her father is Dutch. They always stood up for the underdog, and taught their daughter to do the same.

Beyond her degree, Jacqline is engaged in many facets of campus life, having served as vice president of mission for the Associated Students of the University of San Francisco Senate and facilitating a student group that meets with formerly homeless men with addiction issues. She's also studied abroad in Spain and joined a University Ministry Arrupe Immersion to Peru.

Last spring, she entered the School of Nursing and Health Professions' graduate program in public health, a fast-track dual degree program. She will graduate with a master's in spring 2018, a year and a half after she earns a bachelor's degree. Then, she plans to head off to medical school.