Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholar

While a student at Harold Washington College, Sam Roberts was glad to receive support from City Colleges of Chicago staff and departments.

Help came from Harold Washington College staff like Meaghan Young-Stephens, TRiO Academic Coach, and Ellen Goldberg, Transfer Center Director, who both assisted Sam with scholarship and transfer applications. An evaluation through the Wellness Center at Malcolm X College helped Sam receive accommodations that led to extra support in her classes.

“Even Chancellor Juan Salgado offered me support and helped me chase down a scholarship and get connected with resources!” Sam said.

Sam was glad to hear she won the $2,000 Dempsey J. Travis Foundation scholarship through the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation.

Outside of class, Sam recalls getting support from City Colleges to pay a cell phone bill and get groceries one holiday season.

“It helped a lot,” she said.

Sam says resources like these allowed her to proudly graduate from Harold Washington College in the spring of 2022 with an associate degree in social work.

This spring, Sam was also thrilled to learn that she was one of six City Colleges students to receive the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The award will provide up to $55,000 per year to help Sam pay for her tuition, living expenses, books, and other fees at a four-year college or university.

Sam will transfer to Loyola University Chicago (LUC) this fall and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work, followed by a master’s degree, to ultimately become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

“I’m so eager to begin my new adventure at Loyola University Chicago,” Sam said. “Having won the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship is a dream and will finally allow me to completely focus on my studies at LUC without a financial burden hanging over my head. I’m immensely grateful.”

Now, Sam is committed to paying it forward.

“I think there are certain people who find strength through serving others. I definitely do,” she said.

Sam hopes that one day, she can help connect others to much-needed housing, financial, and mental health resources. Sam knows the value of support because of her own personal experiences with housing insecurity, unemployment, and other struggles.

Sam lives with her partner, Lucie-Ann, and their two cats in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood. She said she works hard because they are starting a family and she wants her children to be proud of her.

“My kids will know it’s okay to dream and won’t be afraid to do so,” Sam said.