Alumni Profile: Jonathan Ng

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Jonathan Ng, c’03, j’03, earned degrees in Spanish and strategic communications and currently works as an attorney advisor for the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, D.C. Originally from Leawood, Kansas, he now resides in Arlington, Virginia. He is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

Jonathan NgI became a Jayhawk because…

As a native Kansan, it’s the flagship institution of our state, and I wanted to go to the best place possible while still maintaining close ties to my home. But no matter where you go, the quality of your experience depends on what you’re willing to put into it. KU provides all the opportunities that you could ever hope for in a full college experience — to be challenged academically at a nationally-recognized research institution, to cheer on elite athletic programs and to spend four years on a beautiful campus in a quintessential college town.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

KU represents a true microcosm of our larger global society by reflecting the diversity you will encounter in your personal and professional lives. It’s large enough to find other students and groups who share your common interests, but it’s also diverse enough to bring you in touch with, and to teach you to be open and empathetic to other views, opinions and worldviews that are different from yours. It’s ultimately those “soft” skills of empathy, adaptability and compromise that help you excel in your career that you learn by immersing yourself in a rich and full college experience that a place like KU offers.

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

As a freshman, I got involved in Student Government because I had an interest in shaping public policy and loved the democratic process of governance. By my junior year, I ended up running for and being elected student body president. Winning the election was obviously a great experience, but just putting myself in the arena regardless of victory or defeat was one of the most formative experiences of my life.

My best advice for college students…

Practice being present. College is not simply a stepping stone to your career. It is a rewarding and formative experience in itself. There’s a reason why many people form their best friendships and memories during their college years. Once you start working, society has a way to differentiate and separate us with arbitrary labels. In college, everyone is essentially on the same playing field, which enables you to get to know people for who they are, not what they do. Enjoy it for what it is. Don’t be in such a hurry to graduate.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? and/or What spot do you return to whenever you’re back on the Hill?

I always love returning to the Campanile and the view that overlooks Potter Lake, Memorial Stadium and the Kansas Union.

What’s the best KU tradition?

By far, the best KU tradition is the Rock Chalk Chant during the final moments of KU basketball games. It’s distinctly and uniquely KU. It’s a tradition you grow up watching on TV, participating in as a student at games in Allen Fieldhouse, and continue chanting as alumni long after you have graduated.

Reveal a “best kept” secret about the KU campus or Lawrence.

I’ll tell you after you graduate.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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