Informing PCC’s work while empowering and equipping Illinois college students to advocate for systemic equity and inclusion at their institutions.

Student Advisory Council

The Student Advisory Council (SAC), launched in March 2019, with student leaders from colleges and universities across Illinois coming together to learn about and advocate for greater equity and inclusion at their institutions. Many SAC members are enrolled at colleges and universities that are active in the Illinois Equity in Attainment initiative (ILEA).

Highlights of the 2021-2022 SAC

  • Authored blogs for the Illinois Colleges Forward website to share their journeys with prospective college students
  • Delivered a panel presentation in Fall 2021 for 500 ILEA college & university presidents, faculty, and administrators that highlighted their challenges in and recommended strategies to prioritize student success
  • Offered testimonials advocating increased support of MAP grants and financial aid as part of PCC’s inaugural Advocacy Day in March 2022
  • Co-presented with higher education and K12 administrators as part of annual Illinois 60×25 Conference

How to get involved

We’re now recruiting for the 2022-2023 SAC! If you know an outstanding Illinois college student who is passionate about improving access to higher education, please share this application or apply here. For more information, email Tanisha Earwin and Sonianne Lozada.

2021-2022 Students

Ethan Chiu – Loyola University Chicago

Ethan Chiu (he/him) is a fourth year student in a dual degree Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science program at Loyola University Chicago. He is a five-year candidate for a BA in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Social Work and an MS in Global Strategic Communications. Ethan works with Current Global, a communications agency as the intern chair for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Through Current Global, he has worked with clients including FedEx, Hidden Valley Ranch, Kingsford Charcoal, and company initiatives including “Accessible by Design” and the “JK Project.” On campus, Ethan worked in the Department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and served in various organizations including the Mixed Heritage Union and the Progress Communications Network. Ethan plans to continue his career in communications after graduation, ultimately moving into the nonprofit sector for education equity. 

Mitzy Espana – The University of Chicago

Mitzy Espana is a first-generation Latina at the University of Chicago. She is currently a second year at the college majoring in Comparative Human Development and minoring in Education and Society. She is passionate about helping BIPOC and marginalized students enter and graduate college which is why she wants to be a teacher. She hopes to not only teach students, but to inspire them to pursue higher education.

MaryKate Godinez – Governors State University

MaryKate attended Moraine Valley Community College before transferring to Governors State University, where is a senior studying psychology. She has experience working with diverse and vulnerable populations, such as low-income college students, incarcerated individuals, and children.

Isabella Hernandez – Millikin University

Isabella joined the Partnership to learn about the issues within education and affordability. Isabella attends Millikin University majoring in BA Theatre and Performance Studies. She is currently involved in her school’s flute choir and  student run company, 1901 Productions, serving as a member of the executive board. As a latina student, Isabella hopes to represent her community and guide children to becoming involved within the arts.

Hugo Ocampo – Northeastern Illinois University

Before being part of the Partnership, Hugo was part of many school clubs to help minority students. This included the Dreamers club, Minority Student Achievement Network(MSAN), and Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR).Hugo is a recent transfer to Northeastern University. In Northeastern Hugo is studying for a philosophy major. Hugo hopes to one day be able to write thought experiments to help improve talks on intersectionality.

Eli Perez – Harper College

Eli joins the Partnership as an equity-seeking artist. Currently pursuing a path in psychology, Eli has previously used art to express the struggles that come with being a transgender, Latino, first generation student attending college in the United States. Eli was president of the Psychology Club at Harper College last semester and hopes that by pursuing his passions, psychology and art, he is able to be more active in aiding individuals who find themselves in similar situations to him.

Iris Quintero – Northeastern Illinois University

Iris is currently majoring in Computer Science at Northeastern Illinois University.   Before joining the partnership, she was part of the after-school program for CPS; working with elementary students inspired her to join the student advisory council and learn more about equity in higher education.  Her goal is to graduate by June of 2023 and advocate for higher education in her community.  Iris has recently discovered the art of pottery by taking some classes and loves playing with her dogs.

Sabi Reza – Northeastern Illinois University

Sabi joins the partnership after being an intern at Senator Ram Villivalam’s Office. There she worked in policy research and engaged with constituents while volunteering in programs that supported the community. She is currently a senior at NEIU, majoring in Communication. One of her goals as a first-generation college student is to work alongside nonprofit organizations that seek to improve and create policies that support minority students.

Brianna Rodriguez – Dominican University

Brianna is in her third year at Dominican University. She is a Sociology and Criminology Double Major with a Minor in Spanish. Brianna expects to graduate in May 2023. She aspires to one day become a licensed mental health counselor and hopes to assist individuals who are incarcerated. She is a part of the PCC’s Student Advisory Council to help strengthen her leadership and advocacy skills to understand the disparities in college completion and be a part of the movement to correct these issues.

Sarahy Rodriguez – Moraine Valley

Sarahy is a first-generation college student with a cosmetology and barber license has decided to continue her higher education. She is a first-semester student at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois where she is currently pursuing a Liberal Arts transfer to Northeastern University with a major in Urban Community Studies and minor in Studio Art. She is a student employee in the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs and is currently serving as President of the Alliance of Latin American Students. Sarahy hopes to continue to find ways to uplift and support others in underrepresented communities through advocacy and community organizing.

Daliyah Sanders – Harper College

Daliyah Sanders is a Fashion Merchandising major graduating with her Associate’s this semester from Harper College. She is the president of my school’s Black Student Union, which is currently in the rebuilding process. She is also part of One Million Degrees and Phi Theta Kappa. 

Aliya Segura – Loyola University, Arrupe College

Aliya Segura is passionate about building bridges with communities and institutions to make education more accessible to all by working within the policy sector of PCC. She is studying Liberal Arts major at Arrupe College at Loyola University Chicago and is driven to major in English and Communications as she enjoys writing and is eager to work with others. Aliya is the Art Fellow at her college,member of Phi Theta Kappa, Secretary of DASO (Dreamers and Allies Student Organization) and most of all aspires to be an author or work in media to represent the Latino community.

Azul Daniel – Harold Washington College

Yulissa de Paz – Northeastern Illinois University

Angelina Furlan – Harper College

Eivan Herrera-Valdez – Northwestern University

Alejandra Natera – University of Illinois at Chicago

Myra Ortiz – University of Illinois at Chicago

Irene Reyes – Northeastern Illinois University

Zahra Sajwani Northeastern Illinois University