Angel Castillo is an undergraduate student at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. She has just begun her second year in the Communications program, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in French.
Originally from the Philippines, Angel and her family immigrated to Canada during a snowy November in 2006, when she was just three years old. She has one brother who is 9 years younger. Growing up in the richly diverse Greater Toronto Area, Angel enjoyed the beauty of multiculturalism in meaningful ways for much of her childhood. Her fondest memories were singing, dancing, worshipping, and doing crafts at church. She vividly remembers her favourite yearly church celebration: International Day. Every ethnic group would set up booths and tents out on the parking lot and dress in traditional clothing, perform traditional dances, and prepare native cuisine. She loved not only how delicious the food was—but how unified the church body was and how celebratory and joyful the event was.
She imagined that this was what heaven would be like: people of every nation, tribe, and tongue dancing for joy and worshipping the Almighty!
Angel and her family moved to Alberta in 2017. The move to Western Canada brought a surprising culture shock for Angel when she found herself one of the few people of colour in her classes. She was teased consistently and her faith was challenged and stretched in a brand new environment. After moving cities and multiple schools, Angel was disheartened from having to constantly leave friends and loved ones behind. Little did she know what God had in store for her.
Due to the government-regulated lockdowns in 2019, Angel decided to transition into online school for her senior year. Although her final year of high school had been completely unprecedented, she found comfort in building connections with her online professors. She grew engaged in her courses. The increased time at home brought the opportunity to rebuild family relationships. By God’s grace, her family is better than they’ve ever been, and she was awarded the Valedictorian of the St. Anne Graduating Class of 2021.
When the time came to choose a university major, Angel felt conflicted. She knew she had a passion for people and has always loved writing and speaking—but was she called to be a reporter and do a degree in Broadcast Media? Or to become a journalist and major in journalism? Or perhaps she should major in psychology or sociology to become a Christian counsellor?
It was her mother that suggested, “Why not public relations?” Being a niche field, Angel had little knowledge as to what PR was. But after researching, she found that at its core, it was the study of building positive relationships. She enjoyed the open career opportunity and versatility of a career in public relations as well as how people were the focus. After much prayer, she felt God confirming and opening doors—she received the School of Communication Department scholarship and Academic Excellence scholarship upon her application.
She has experienced God move in countless ways during her first year. She had the opportunity to interview an award-winning Christian CTV News broadcast journalist as well as have a sit-down interview with the first Filipina to run for mayor in Alberta. She learned so much from both women and was grateful and encouraged to hear their stories.
After working a summer student position at First Alliance Church in Calgary, Alberta, she was hired on staff permanently as the Communications Administrator. In this role, she has been able to hone her communication skills in storytelling and graphic design as well as step into more public speaking roles, interviewing, and administrative tasks. She is passionate about sharing the stories and testimonies of the congregation and is driven by Revelation 12:11a KJV:
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
It was her Applied Writing for Public Relations professor, Dr. Sandra Braun, who referred her to Global Scholars Canada in November 2021. When Angel received her email, she immediately felt a pull to apply. She knew it was God’s timing because she has always longed to participate in a mission trip or discipleship program, but God had never opened the door—until now.
She found herself completely inspired, moved by, and spurred on by the Global Scholars’ vision, “Missional Christian academics redemptively influencing students and colleagues, departments and disciplines, at every university worldwide.” This notion of infiltrating and influencing academia for the furtherance of the Gospel and Jesus Christ struck her. She explained, “Usually, one would think school and church are different places with different purposes, but GSC sees higher education as a mission field. I love that, and I hope to be challenged spiritually, creatively, and even academically by an internship at GSC.”
Angel speaks three languages: English, Tagalog and French. While moving to a French school was initially an unfavourable idea, she quickly fell in love with the French language and French culture. She has competed in French-speaking competitions, like the Concours d’Oratoire, has won awards, and represented her school on multiple occasions. Her trip to Quebec in eighth grade fostered her interest in French culture and history. This inspired her decision to pursue a minor in French.
Angel aspires toward a career in government relations, hoping to utilize her bilingual skills to further equip her to serve Canadians, represent immigrant families, and share the love of Christ with all she meets. She desires to keep storytelling and advocating for the vulnerable and in need. She recognizes that she may have a plan, but it is God who only knows her tomorrow. She is open to where God leads her. She is excited and looks forward to the adventures God has for her.