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ASPIRA of Illinois – Leadership Through Education

Aspirante Alumni

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“From Puerto Rico, I arrived to Chicago with my parents in the 1950s. Like many Puerto Ricans who migrated to the United States during that time, they understood education to be a tool of empowerment to make smart choices and enhance one’s dignity and appreciation for our fellow man. They supported me and encouraged me. It was when I met Sylvia Herrera, ASPIRA of Illinois’ first director, that I knew getting a college degree was a viable option. ASPIRA provided educational guidance and their programs helped me to reconcile the differences between my culture and that of the mainstream during the late 1960’s.”

Ada Nivia Lopez – Educator

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Board Member (present)
  • Author, Asi Somos | Who We Are
  • University of Illinois Trustees, member (First Latina elected statewide 1993-1999)
  • Appointed to the Board of Education, 1986

“As a first generation Puerto Rican college student and during very difficult financial times in my life, ASPIRA believed in me and awarded me scholarships throughout my college years. Soon after I graduated from college, I was honored to work as a counselor at ASPIRA; and since then I have had the pleasure of working with fellow Aspirantes throughout the years”.

Madeline Roman

Vice President, Academic Affairs

St. Augustine College

  • Dean Wilbur Wright College, Humboldt Park Vocational Center, 1999-2014

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