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The New Class

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Good Cents

Diana Brown

Prairie State College
Associate of Arts, Business, Management, Administration & Finance

"Typically, you see mentorship programs geared toward younger students. I was attracted because there was no age limitation. The fact that they support adults is unique."

Diana is currently attending Prairie State College and majoring in Business. She lives in the south suburbs, but grew up in inner-city Chicago. As a single mother of 3 children, Diana wants to gain the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace so she can provide a promising future for her family. In her free time, she enjoys nature walks when  weather permits, music and documentaries.

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Grant's On Deck

Grant Trower

Olive-Harvey College
Associate of Arts, Business, Management, Administration & Finance

"I look forward to the experience with One Million Degrees. They're helping us with transferring to a 4-year university, but I feel like I have an advantage other 4-year students won't."

Grant is a business major at Olive-Harvey College. Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Grant moved to Chicago to play baseball, but with One Million Degrees he hopes to get a lot more out of his college experience. When Grant is not in class or playing baseball, he likes to listen to music, spend time with his teammates, and learn what it takes to succeed in business.

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Living Up To My Potential

Joshua Branch

Kennedy-King College
Associate of Arts, Education

"What attracted me to One Million Degrees is the fact you have to have a 2.5 GPA. Having to meet that requirement is keeping me on track. The coordinators are so concerned with our wellbeing and really supportive."

Joshua was born and raised in Chicago. He has 7 siblings, and is the first male family member to graduate from high school and enroll in college. He decided to pursue his degree so he could have a career he loves.

"What attracted me to One Million Degrees is the fact that you have to have a 2.5 GPA. Having to meet that requirement is keeping me on track. The coordinators are so concerned with our wellbeing and really supportive."

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Making An Impact

Rachel Le

College of Lake County
Associate of Arts, Business, Management, Administration & Finance

"OMD is one of the student programs I truly enjoy. I see the student development sessions as opportunities to meet my peers who are also motivated to learn and empower each other."

Rachel is a sophomore at College of Lake County who is planning to transfer to DePaul University for Fall 2016. She is the oldest of five and works part time. Rachel is involved in several student activities including Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa, Business Club, Asian Student Alliance, and OMD! She believes now is the time to get involved in her community and help empower her peers. Rachel likes making a difference and wants to make an impact at her college.

Second and Third Year Scholars

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Working Hard, Working Smart

Jesus Larios

Malcolm X College
Associate of General Studies, Health Science

"I hope to grow as a person with One Million Degrees. All the workplace talks and other events help you become more confident. I always want to stand out. I joined the program because I wanted to show how serious I am about my future."

Jesus' dream is to first become an athletic trainer, then a defensive coordinator for a team in the NBA. He's currently at Malcolm X College and plans to transfer to a four-year university to study kinesiology and athletic training. Jesus currently interns at Rush University Medical Center for the IT department and is a team assistant for the Chicago Bulls. He is always trying to improve and be better than he was the day before. He likes to dream extremely big and believes dreaming big - along with working hard, working smart, being dedicated and having a great network - will help him achieve great success.

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Taking The Next Step

Nika Pruitt

Malcolm X College
Associate of Science, Health Science

"I'm happy I found One Million Degrees and am able to be a part of this program. It gave me the chance to get back in school, finally be happy again, and do all the things I've wanted to do."

Nika Pruitt is proud that she’s been able to step up and help her family. Now, she’s embracing the challenge of community college, where she is “stepping up” for others as well. Nika is attending Malcolm X College’s program in health science to train to work in radiography. She’s looking forward to working toward a career that she loves so she can “live life on my terms.” Nika participated in OMD's annual Alternative Spring Break, during which she and other OMD Scholars committed to a week of service across the Bay Area in San Francisco. To see photos of all the fun, click here!

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Thinking About The Future

Jackie Sanchez

Harry S. Truman College
Associate of Applied Science, Child Development

"I couldn't imagine myself being where I am one year ago. The etiquette dinners, learning elevator pitches… I use OMD a little bit every day of my life."

Jackie is a mother of three wonderful children. Currently enrolled at Truman College, she is pursuing an Associate Of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Jackie moved around a lot as a child, and has lived all over the city of Chicago. After a near death experience giving birth to her youngest son, she sat back and thought about her children's future, as well as her own, and decided to go back to school to provide a stable environment for her family.

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A Lover And A Fighter

Homira Wardak

Harper College
Associate of Science, Biological Science

Of her biggest inspiration (her mother): “This woman has showed me nothing is impossible.
I owe her my life. She motivates me to be the best person I can be,
and for that, I love her eternally.”

Homira describes herself as a lover and a fighter.  She learned to be independent at a very young age, as her father left the family when she was a child, and her mother works overseas with the military. This left Homira capable of fighting for what she wanted in life. She says she's had little support, motivation, and involvement in the community since her mother left, but that she regained all of this when she applied for OMD. Homira is currently studying Biological Studies at Harper College and plans to transfer to a four-year university.

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Providing A Better Example

Nick Mobley

Kennedy-King College
Associate of Engineering Science, Information Technology

"My program coordinator talked to me about my GPA being like my credit score and that was something I could relate to because I sold cars. He said the higher credit score you have the farther you can make it." 

Nick dropped out of college when he was 19 to take care of his terminally ill mother and held a number of jobs including limousine driver and car dealer. Sixteen years later, he returned to school to get a job he is passionate about. He struggled, however, his first semester back and was concerned about the academic challenges with obtaining his degree. Armed with OMD tutoring, Nick retook all of the classes he had failed the previous semester and received straight A's. Nick is looking forward to transferring to UIC next fall, getting his degree in electrical computer engineering, and inspiring his twin sons.

OMD Alumni

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Approaching Success... Stat!

John Hayes

Malcolm X College
Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, May 2015

“Being a One Million Degrees Scholar is a representation of scholastic achievement, personal development, and service to humanity.”

John Hayes is proud of living a healthy life and doing his best to improve himself each day. Struggling through a difficult childhood inspired John to pursue a career where he can take care of others. A recent graduate of Malcolm X College, John is putting that degree to good use as a research assistant at the University of Chicago. He's also licensed to practice as a registered nurse, but he's not stopping there - John enrolled in the BSN program at UIC this fall and looks forward to becoming a nurse practioner.

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Proud Mother

Nadia Crawley

Prairie State College
Associate of Science, Aug 2012

"When I graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, I will be walking away from OMD with confidence, wisdom, and even more determination to better myself and my child’s life."

Nadia is studying bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago and plans to pursue a career in biomedical engineering. Nadia’s two life goals are to provide the best opportunities she can for her son and to make a positive impact on the world. With the help of OMD, Nadia is excelling in her classes and working to achieve her goals.

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Won't Stop Learning

George Lowery

Kennedy-King College
Associate of Applied Science, May 2011 Bachelor of Industrial and Technology Management, Dec 2014 Master of Industrial Engineering, December 2015

"One Million Degrees has given me the ability to learn how to learn. Once that's ingrained in you, it's difficult to stop. I'll never stop learning."

George returned to school for his associate's to further a career in HVAC. While in OMD, however, he realized he had the grades and the drive to get his bachelor's in engineering. George is currently an Operations Engineer with the Chicago Department of Aviation and expects to earn his Masters in December 2015. Without OMD, George believes he'd probably be a technician - he credits his coach and OMD programming with getting him to think bigger.

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By The Books

Victor Perez

Daley College
Associate of Applied Science, May 2012; Bachelor's of Business Administration, May 2015

"Having OMD and my mentor supporting me gave me strength and showed me that there were bigger opportunities out there for me."

Victor earned an associate's degree at Daley College  and transferred to DePaul University with continued assistance from OMD. In 2015, he graduated from DePaul with a Bachelor of Business Administration and is now at Ernst & Young in the Assurance practice. While an OMD Scholar, Victor secured an internship at Ernst & Young and his strong performance led to a full-time job offer.

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Leading The Way

Cynthia Herrera

Harry S. Truman College
Associate of Arts, May 2015

"I'm pushing to do anything and everything I can to get to a point in my life where I can say that I succeeded and that no matter what my background is, I can do it."

A small business can leave a big impression. Growing up, Cynthia’s family struggled financially until her father opened his own business. Her father’s success motivated her to chart new territory and enroll in college –the first in her family to do so– so that one day, she can become a business owner just like her dad.