From the moment she stepped foot on the Cal State LA campus, Ma Ledi Ham Loot knew that she was destined to be a Golden Eagle. Immediately, the community embraced her and “gave her a home away from home.” That support system allowed the international graduate student to confidently pursue a dual masters: a Master's of Science in Healthcare Management and an MBA, which she will obtain in Spring 2021.
To say Ledi is active in her student body would be a massive understatement. From 2019 to 2020, she served as the Graduate Academic Senator for Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) and Chief Governance and Public Relations Officer for the Healthcare Leadership Association (HLA). Next year, she will serve as the Vice President of Administration for ASI and the Chief Executive Officer/President for HLA. She also currently serves as a student member in the Strategic Planning Committee where every semester she is invited as a student speaker for students who have been newly admitted.
“As a student leader, I advocate for student rights.” Ledi explained. “We pushed the increase CAPS support to our students especially during the pandemic. We also pushed to allocate money so that DACA and international students can receive emergency grant. Right now, my focus is ensuring that students at Cal State LA is involved and would still enjoy campus life even if it is virtual through several programming.”
Innately a people’s person, Ledi comes from a small town of 125,000 people in the Philippines. Because her family of politicians belongs to the upper middle class, she has always felt as though she has been living in their shadows. Despite being an academic overachiever, people always unfairly denounced her achievements and hard work because of her family’s privileged background. Every move she made was scrutinized and that pressure to be perfect remained.
“Even the good things I do such as my advocacy for teenage pregnancy, helping a poor patient secure his medication or going out of my way to help other people, people always have something bad to say,” she explained. “Every year, I would raise money for school supplies for at least 150 children in our community.”
During the pandemic, Ledi was truly an unsung hero of the CBE, helping her co-nurses back home in the Philippines by raising money to create hazmat suits for them to help fight Covid-19 while on the frontlines.
According to Ledi, “It was liberating when I moved to the US. I did not need any approval from other people. And I know that whatever achievement I have here, it is because of my hard work and dedication; not because I am my mother or father’s daughter. I found the better me when I came in the US.”
Last February, Ledi passed the licensing board for Registered Nurses in California. She hopes to find a full-time job in the US, in addition to pursuing a PhD or Doctorate program.