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2023 - Aolany Campuzano: I am a first-generation high school and college graduate

Tags: Commencement | Graduation Essays
Published 12/11/2023
Elgin Community College December 2023 graduate Aolany Campuzano

Elgin Community College December 2023 graduate Aolany Campuzano

As a first-generation Mexican-American, entering higher education was a world unbeknownst to me. I came into college terrified and confused. I didn’t know how to navigate being a college student or even know who I was as a person. All I knew was that I had to do this to make my parents sacrifice immigrating to this country for me and my family worthwhile. Throughout my time at Elgin Community College, I could only take a few classes at a time to be able to work to help support myself and my family. Although balancing work, school, and family was difficult, I persevered and can now say with pride that I am a first-generation high school and college graduate.

I plan to transfer in the fall of 2024 to the University of Illinois at Chicago for a bachelor’s degree in public health with a minor in Latino studies. I aspire to empower members of our Latino community. I've always wanted to give back to my community and assist those in need; my career goal is to equip minority and immigrant communities with the help and resources they need.

My advice to future students is to get involved! Becoming a student leader has changed my life for the better. I have been involved with many clubs throughout my time at ECC and have even been fortunate to have had the opportunity to be the president of OLAS. Being involved on campus not only allows you to make friends with similar interests but also provides the skills needed to enter the workforce and gives you the platform to make a difference on campus. I can say with certainty that because of my time as a student leader, I now know that what I want for my future is to make a positive change in my community. I have started this journey by accepting the position of Hispanic Services Program Assistant at Gail Borden Library in Elgin, and it’s because of everything I have learned from my fellow student leaders and wonderful Advisors in the Office of Student Life.

I’d like to thank all my professors and advisors who have been with me on this journey; you all have supported me throughout these years: Michelle Ramirez, Tracy Vittone, and Dr. Vincent Gaddis. I’d like to especially thank Dr. Antonio Ramirez for awakening my love for learning. I had never realized how much I loved to learn until I took the course History of Latinos in the US Taking this course taught by Dr. Ramirez has deepened my love and compassion for my Latino community, and because of this, I wish to minor in Latino studies once I transfer to university. Thank you, Dr. Ramirez, for believing in me and supporting me as a student and an aspiring community leader.

Aolany Campuzano '23

Associate in Arts

Elgin, IL