More Stories From Wheelock Seniors

Voranan Mongkolpumirat

Wheelock Senior Voranan Mongkolpumirat Hometown: I am originally from a small province in Thailand. I immigrated to the United States (San Antonio, Texas) when I was eleven years old.

Major: I have a double major: Social Work and Human Development with a focus in Psychology.

What are your greatest achievements while at Wheelock?

I have been a part of the Dean’s List since my first semester at Wheelock and have had the opportunity to work a couple of jobs on campus (i.e. the Office of Academic Affairs) as well. I was inducted into Pi Gamma Mu in 2010 and became the president this year. Through Wheelock’s partnership with AIFS, I was also able to study abroad in South Africa for four and a half months. Additionally, the courses I took along with the field placement and practicum I had enabled me to grow and learn about myself both professionally and personally, which I consider to be one of my greatest achievements.

What type of service work have you done at Wheelock?

I traveled to New Orleans twice on the Service Learning trip with Bobbi Rosenquest and other students. During my first time, I worked with other students and volunteers to rebuild homes that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. On my second trip, three other students and I did a group independent study, visiting various artists and communities in New Orleans to explore how different art forms can heal the people in New Orleans.

I also traveled to South Africa and did an intern project which focused on learning for sustainable community engagement and volunteered at different townships. Some of the things we did were:

  • developing lesson plans and teaching 45 third graders
  • painting a school
  • providing information about HIV/AIDS and encouraging people to practice safe sex and get tested
  • starting a garden project in a rural community
  • engaging with and mentoring teenagers, and
  • building foundations for new homes.

Moreover, I did some service work in the surrounding community of Boston. I participated in a walk for BARCC, volunteered at soup kitchens, and collaborated with Pi Gamma Mu to organize events such as The Giving Wheel and Last One Standing to benefit children, families, and programs in need, and other charity organizations.

What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about human rights and working with people. There is a quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe that I love: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.” That quote explains all that I am passionate about. I never want to go into someone’s life and simply “help” them, I want to collaborate and work with them. To me, it’s not about what I can do to help others, but what we all can do to help each other.

Oftentimes, we only see the negative aspects of people’s lives, so we instantly feel the need to fix them. However, we should also be conscious of the positive aspects of their lives and things we can learn from each other. I think that is why I am so passionate about working with and meeting new people because I know that in one way or another, they are going to teach me something that I did not already know, and hopefully, vice versa. I strongly believe that everyone has a story and thus should always be given a chance, be treated as an equal, and with respect.

As a future helping professional, I want to be able not to just tell others what they can do to better their lives, but empower them so they can reach their own goals and become who they want to be.

What do you plan to do after graduating?

After graduating, I plan to volunteer with the Peace Corps. I have wanted to volunteer with Peace Corps since I was thirteen years old, and though I am currently waiting for a placement, I feel extremely fortunate to have developed the skills I did during my undergraduate studies and to have the support from my family, friends, professors and other mentors. Without those things, I would have never felt so empowered and that I can just leave the country to do whatever I have to do for 27 months. Afterwards, I hope to work for a little while before going back to graduate school to get my Masters in Social Work.


Good for you, Voranan. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

Posted @ Thursday, October 11, 2012 8:50 AM by Jim Bourque