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Columns

Waubonsee Voices: Celebrating student success

Christine J. Sobek
Christine J. Sobek

In September and October, we celebrate national Hispanic Heritage Month. Waubonsee is proud to be designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. The HSI designation is awarded to institutions of higher education with a student population with at least 25% Hispanic students. We are proud of the many Latinx students who have attended Waubonsee to become leaders in their field and in their community. I am pleased to share a few of their stories.

Lorena Gonzalez is a first-generation American and was a first-generation college student when she came to Waubonsee. She graduated from Waubonsee’s Honors Program and was accepted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She transferred to Elmhurst College and was awarded the Elmhurst Honors Scholarship.

Roxana Garcia also is a first-generation American and a student at Waubonsee. She was accepted into a program through the National Science Foundation to study climate change in Estonia last summer. That experience confirmed in her mind that she was on the right path toward realizing her dream and toward a career in helping the planet.

Earlier this year, Maria Espinoza was selected to conduct scientific research at the University of Illinois. Unfortunately, that program was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but her selection is an accomplishment that we are all proud of for her.

Dr. John Avendano is a member of Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame and was named Waubonsee’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2011. He served as the president of Kankakee Community College in Illinois for many years and is now the president of Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Dr. Jose Magaņa is also a Waubonsee Distinguished Alumnus and is a doctor of internal medicine here in our community.

These individuals have contributed greatly to their families, and to their personal and professional communities. We are proud of all of them. What is most exciting to me is that there are many, many people like them making a difference every day. Many Waubonsee students are active members of Latinos Unidos, one of the college’s Registered Student Organizations. Those students, along with faculty and staff members and the college’s Council for Access and Inclusion, have planned several events to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month. I encourage you to visit the Latinx Heritage Month page of our calendar at calendar.waubonsee.edu/LHM to see all the virtual events planned for this special time. Please join us!

Christine J. Sobek is the president of Waubonsee Community College.

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