In 2012, Angela Ng visited Carnegie Mellon’s campus near the end of second semester. Admittedly, CMU was not at the top of the high school senior’s list of schools she wanted to attend. But it was spring time, and campus was alive. Carnival was days away, and students were building buggy and booth. The attitude on the Cut was electric. Five years later, Ng knows she’s going to have a hard time keeping her eyes dry when she steps away from campus for the final time.
The 22-year-old Detroit native has made the most of her time at Carnegie Mellon. As it turns out, that time has had an enormous impact on the student community on campus as well.
During her first year, Ng created not one but two organizations aimed at helping to relieve the stress-culture on campus: Project Smile and the Mindfulness Room. Project Smile is a movement that leaves signs, messages, chalk notes, and more across campus to draw smiles from students who see them throughout their day. The Mindfulness Room is a quiet, meditative space meant to be free from distractions like books, computers, and cell phones. It is a place to slow down, sit down, and wind down.
Both projects, Ng shares, grew out of the incredible support system she found at Carnegie Mellon. “Every time I’ve asked for something,” she says, “they (administration and student affairs) have said ‘yes, here’s how we can help you and support you.’” While these projects have become staples on campus, Ng still wanted to do more.
After graduating in May 2016 with a double major in civil and environmental engineering and biomedical engineering, Ng was accepted to Carnegie Mellon’s 5th Year Scholar program. The 5th Year Scholar program gives exceptional students the chance to remain on campus for an additional year following graduation with the aim of broadening their educational experience while also allowing them to positively contribute to the university community. With free tuition and a generous fellowship stipend in hand, Ng did what she does best: she gave back. “I feel so lucky with my life,” she says. “I want others to have the support that I have. That’s why I give back.” This time, she did so through the creation of Paws to Relax.
This is where I grew to be me.Angela Ng, 2017 Student Service Award recipient, Carnegie Mellon University
The Paws to Relax program is a continuation of Ng’s dedication to relieving stress on campus. Through the program, those in the university community have the opportunity, twice a week, to spend time with therapy dogs in a relaxed and comfortable setting. “It was a lot transitioning from high school to college,” Ng says. “I was tired of being stressed out.” So instead of turning that stress inward, she searched for ways to help the campus-wide community.
As a result of her selfless dedication to community-minded action on campus, Ng is being honored with the 2017 Student Service Award. This award is given to the undergraduate or graduate student, or students, who exemplifies student service and involvement within the university community. While she is honored to receive this award, Ng is quick to give credit where she feels credit is due. “I have grown into a wonderful woman who I am proud of today, and that has happened because of Carnegie Mellon and everyone supporting me.”
That support, and the confidence boost she has experienced during her 5th Year studies, has motivated her to further her education. In the fall, she will be starting a two-year graduate program in public health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.
While she is excited for this new venture, there is a bit of nervousness about leaving Carnegie Mellon. “It was a really hard decision for me to decide to leave here in order to grow more,” she says. “This is where I grew to be me.”
Help Ng celebrate her achievement at the Alumni Awards banquet, to be held at 6 p.m. Friday, May 19 in Chosky Theater, Purnell Center for the Arts on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus.