Before starting her higher education journey at Malcolm X College, Tanya de Chavez’s biggest hurdle was overcoming her own fear to return to school. Now, she’s inspiring others to follow her lead.

Tanya spent the last ten years working in the legal field and serving as a co-chair for the Young Professional Advisory Council for Mujeres Latinas en Accion, an organization that empowers Latinas. There, Tanya developed her love of helping others and molding young leaders. In addition to her community work, she decided to return to school to obtain her associate in arts at Malcolm X.

Tanya was worried that people would judge her for taking some time off in between high school and college but found everyone friendly and supportive. They encouraged her to chase her dreams of transferring. Now that she’s earned her associate degree, she plans to transfer to UIC to study public policy and business administration. She hasn’t ruled out the possibility of attending law school one day either.

Tanya’s commitment to her Malcolm X community and the greater Chicago community earned her a 2024 Luminary Award from City Colleges of Chicago.


"I don’t like to see people struggle. Especially as a first-generation Latina. I saw my parents struggle with work, putting food on the table, and finding a place to live. I feel like no one else has to do that if we give them the right resources and share the knowledge we’ve all learned throughout the years."