Age 21, Class of 2017
Legacy Youth Participant
America was raised in the Humboldt Park community of Chicago and attended North Grand High School, earning her high school diploma. She participated in the Legacy Youth after-school program and the summer leadership academy during her time as a high school student. Throughout her time as a Legacy Youth participant, she traveled with the program to Washington, DC and New York City while also serving as a Student Leader to her peers in the program.
Currently Attending: Dominican University, Fourth Year Student
Major(s): Double major in Computer Science and Spanish
Minor(s): Sociology and Latino Studies
Extracurricular Activities: Member of the Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispanica and Sigma Delta Pi. America is also a member of the Love Your Melon Organization, a campus program that provides hats to children battling cancer.
Favorite Legacy Youth Lesson: Legacy Leaders taught me the importance of maintaining eye contact and having a firm handshake, essentially teaching me how to exude confidence and assurance when engaging with others. Another valuable lesson is the importance of team work, we were taught, “If one falls, we all fall.” This particular lesson has positively influenced my approach in working with others in the classroom and in life.
Proudest Accomplishment to Date: In the fall semester of my junior year, I was able to take part in Dominican University’s study abroad program. During my time with Legacy Leaders, we traveled to Washington, D.C. and New York City. As a young Latina from Humboldt Park, I never really had the opportunity to see anything outside of my own community. The experiences I had through my travels with Legacy Leaders gave me a taste of the world outside of my comfort zone. As a first generation college student, I had reservations about being able to successfully study abroad. The thought of being so far away from home was particularly scary, but I knew this would be worth it. Legacy Leaders taught me to challenge myself to try new things, so I pushed ahead and pursued the opportunity. Today, I am proud to say that I have visited France, England, Spain, Italy, and Ireland. It is my biggest accomplishment to date!
Future Goals: After completing my study abroad trip, I would really like to travel again. I want to keep exploring Europe, along with visits to South America, Australia, Asia. As I enter my final year of college, I am still working to figure out my next move. I enjoy computer programming, but also have a passion for helping others. It would be ideal to find a way to blend these two together.
Advice for Current Legacy Youth: Take full advantage of the program. Absorb as much knowledge as possible. EVERY single thing that I learned in LLI, I have used after high school. They are not simply skills to use in college, they are skills that I know I will use forever.
“I don’t think anyone can fully prepare you for life after high school but Legacy Leaders definitely made the transition to college much easier. Whenever I had a doubt or concern, I knew they would be there to support me.”