Dr. Doris Espiritu

Dr. Doris Espiritu, dean of the Center of Excellence for Engineering and Computer Science at Wilbur Wright College, has been named one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ 2023 Notable Women in STEM.
The honor is awarded to top women leaders in the Chicago area who are making an impact in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. As the founder and leader of Wright’s award-winning Engineering and Computer Science program, Dr. Espiritu’s impact on the STEM field—and its future leaders—is evident.

She started the Engineering program at Wright in 2018 with just a handful of students and has fostered its growth to more than 500 students in just five years. Engineering students who graduate are guaranteed admission to the highly-ranked engineering programs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) or Illinois Tech.

In addition, Dr. Espiritu has built relationships with leaders at world-class institutions to provide internships and research opportunities to students, including Northwestern University, Princeton University, Fermilab, Argonne National Laboratory, and more. These opportunities pay off immensely, as engineering students have transferred to four-year universities across the country and have successfully launched careers in the field.

The impact Dr. Espiritu has on her students like Wright Engineering alumnus Jonathan Cifuentes Barrios is undeniable. While Barrios was a student, he had to work to support his mother who was battling cancer. He graduated from UIUC in 2022 and had a job waiting for him after graduation.

“Dr. Espiritu did all she could to include me in the Engineering program, telling me which classes to take and how to strengthen my transfer applications,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I thought about quitting, but with Dr. Espiritu’s help, I pushed on.”

Seeing students like Jonathan succeed is Dr. Espiritu’s proudest accomplishment.

“There is no greater feeling than when a former student walks through my door after graduating from a top program and earning an incredible job to tell me that they attribute their success to this once small program I started five years ago,” she said.

Dr. Espiritu also serves as a Senior Advisor to the Provost. She has been teaching and leading programs in chemistry, biophysics, engineering, and computer science at City Colleges for more than fifteen years.