“With the help of OMD I was able to be more comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
Cynthia Herrera, like over half of OMD Scholars, was the first in her family to attend college. She struggled with feelings of not being “college material,” and thought she would begin working immediately after graduating high school. Yet after attending an OMD information session, her perspective was completely changed: “It was the first time someone looked at me with potential. . . I knew then I could go to college. I finally felt confident in myself.”
The process of enrolling, complete with forms and paperwork that neither Cynthia nor her family had ever encountered, was daunting; but she knew that she had the assistance of the OMD staff whenever she needed it. “Everything was new and scary, but I had so much support along the way. . . I could always call someone in the office and know they could help me.” As an OMD Scholar, Cynthia attended Harry S. Truman College, earning her Associate's Degree in 2015.
After completing her coursework at Harry S. Truman College, Cynthia transferred to DePaul, where she studies Peace, Justice, and Conflict Resolution, with a minor in Public Relations. With the skills she learned at OMD workshops, she landed an internship at the Erie Neighborhood House, where is invaluable in running the ELS Literacy program. She plans on eventually receiving a Bachelor's Degree and working in social justice activism with refugees and/or undocumented immigrants.