The people I met and the connections I made at Wilbur Wright College helped contribute to my success as a first-generation student. They are also the reason why I want to continue my education.

After graduating high school, my main concern with pursuing higher education was how I would be able to afford it. As a first-generation student, navigating college applications and financial aid was complicated and foreign to me. But thanks to City Colleges and Chicago Public Schools, my academic achievements in high school granted me the Star Scholarship. The Star Scholarship took away those worries by covering my tuition and my books at Wright.

Throughout my Wright College journey, the faculty and staff were so supportive and attentive to all of us students. People like Veterans Services Specialist Bryan Soske, Advising and Transfer Advisor Alejandro Herrera, Career Planning and Placement Director Joe Reaves, and Professors David Franco and Victor Guerrieri helped me navigate student life.

I am now continuing my education at Elmhurst University after transferring from Wright. I’m pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. My goal is to attend law school and become an attorney. My passion for the law and immigration comes from my background as the oldest daughter of two undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States for better opportunities. Right now, I’m working as an immigration paralegal at an immigration law firm. Soon, I’ll be participating in the U.S. Army JAG Corps summer internship for civilian attorneys. While I’m not a veteran myself, I have relationships with veterans who help give me a new perspective.

I advise City Colleges students to never be afraid to explore beyond their comfort zone. A U.S. Air Force veteran once told me you never know your true potential and capabilities until you jump into what you fear. Being at Wright and meeting new people encouraged me to continue my education. Thanks to my time at Wright, I have opportunities far greater than I could have imagined. As I continue my higher education journey, I won’t forget the path that community college paved for me and the opportunities it provided to me.

-Alejandra Ramirez Lopez, Associate of Arts, Class of 2024