In September 2016, Roosevelt University hosted its inaugural American Dream Reconsidered Conference. In celebration of the event and to assist Roosevelt students, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, a title sponsor of the conference, generously established the American Dream Scholarship program to support six Roosevelt University freshmen.
Each of these scholars is the first in their family to attend college. All of them view the American Dream as an inherent promise of opportunity for their own personal goals and for the nation’s success. The following provides insights as to why each chose Roosevelt and what the American Dream means to them.
Heller College of Business, Accounting
Kwesi Ayekumi was born and raised in Chicago and attended Lake View High School on the North Side of the city. He came to Roosevelt to study accounting and participate on the cross country and track teams. “I have a passion to develop my mathematical skills to be the very best they can be … and eventually integrate my accounting and business knowledge,” he said. Roosevelt stood out to him because of “the welcoming atmosphere that allowed me to be myself and grow as a person.” Ayekumi describes the American Dream as “the success and happiness of one’s life. It could be a monetary value or volunteer work.” Ayekumi would like to fulfill his parents’ dream of building an orphanage that will “do more than just meet standards.”
Chicago College of Performing Arts, Musical Theatre
Michael Germain, a resident of Cincinnati, is in the Musical Theatre program of the Chicago College of Performing Arts. “Musical theatre makes me happy and I never get tired of doing it,” he said. Germain came to Roosevelt because of the “amazing” reputation of the program and “for being a great training program for young performers.” His view of the American Dream is “working for what you want in life, putting in the time and effort and not taking the easy way out.”
College of Education, Elementary Education
Halie Reyes is from Des Plaines, Ill. and attended Maine West High School. Her goal is to be a teacher. “I was inspired by so many teachers in my life and I want to have the same influence,” she said. Roosevelt appealed to her because “it has a strong focus on social justice. It allows me to stay involved with service and have a healthy environment.” The American Dream for Reyes “is the drive to achieve more without folding due to obstacles.” She refuses to allow financial issues to be a barrier to her success. “I am motivated to keep moving forward,” she said.
College of Arts and Sciences, Psychology
Briana Reynolds attended George Westinghouse College Prep in Chicago. She wants to study psychology because she is interested in helping other people. “I chose Roosevelt because I like its social justice mission especially with all the social justice issues going on in the world today,” she said. For Reynolds, “the American Dream means having freedom, equality and opportunities to achieve success in America.”
Heller College of Business, Accounting
Alan Romero grew up in Bolingbrook, Ill. and attended Plainfield East High School. He chose Roosevelt University because of its location and the opportunity to play soccer. He will study Accounting because he “took an accounting class my senior year of high school and found it really interesting. Math has always been my favorite subject,” he said. Romero’s view of the American Dream has elements of personal responsibility: “The American Dream, to me, means to strive for success so I can give back to my family.”
Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies, Criminal Justice
Alexandra Ward is from Burbank, Ill. and attended Reavis High School. She chose Roosevelt because of its location and because she heard a lot of positive things about the quality of its education. She’d like to become a lawyer and will study Criminal Justice. “I love looking into the finer details of things and finding things no one else can spot,” she said. “I love arguing as well, which will really help in my journey to become a lawyer.” Education is central to Ward’s view of the American Dream. “The American Dream is getting an education and wanting to better yourself.”