Esther Ferreira (’19)
For Esther Ferreira, graduation meant more than just leaving Memphis and the CBU softball field. It meant leaving the United States. She joined the Peace Corps and went to Tonga to live among a community of 600 people, few of whom spoke English.
Esther had spent her years at CBU looking for ways to help people, ways to understand them and, although she knew that grad school made sense for most people with a BA in psychology, it wasn’t the path for her. She says, “I really enjoyed my time [in Tonga], immersing myself in the culture, learning the language, finding out how to be part of the community there.” For seven months, Esther got to know the Tongans, serving as a pioneer teacher, learning to love the people.
But when COVID-19 forced her to come back to the United States in March 2020, Esther’s servant heart wouldn’t let her rest. Needing a way to help others, she first took a job with Social Security as a claims specialist, and then in August 2021, she joined the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as an investigator. As a first-generation, Hispanic college graduate who knows what discrimination and struggle look like, Esther says, “I feel really excited about the work I’ll be doing. [The EEOC] is the only civil rights agency in the U.S., and that’s something that’s very important to me. This will give me an opportunity to enforce employment laws and stand up for people and create change in the working environment. It’s really exciting to me to be on the forefront of that.”
Esther carries CBU’s sense of community with her wherever she goes and continues to find her greatest joy in helping others:
CBU’s ‘Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve’ has been my model for the past six-plus years. It’s something that really resonates with me. I have a passion for people, to serve them, to help them in any capacity I possibly can.