Class of spring 2020 graduate profile: Esperanza Ortiz

Esperanza Ortiz
Degree earned – B.S., Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Services, Psychology minor
Hometown/High School: Elgin, Illinois, Elgin High School
If you transferred to NIU, where from:  Elgin Community College

What are some of your best memories of your time at NIU?
I would have to say that some of the best memories would have to be becoming part of something so big and important as obtaining my degree and becoming more than a statistic. I also had the privilege to work with amazing professors that guided me and helped shape the person I am today. Meeting amazing classmates that soon became family and becoming a sister of Kappa Delta Chi.

What’s next for you?                              
I plan to take some time off before starting graduate school. I want to return to NIU and hopefully be accepted into the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. For now I will be working full-time in DeKalb’s Children’s Advocacy Center through the Family Service Agency as their Crisis Counselor and Outreach Coordinator.

What is one piece of advice or something you learned that you know you’ll be leaning on as you start the next phase of your career or education?
Throughout my undergraduate experience I was always encouraged to believe in myself and to follow my dreams no matter what they were. Everyone saw what I couldn’t and told me that even if I didn’t see it at the moment, one day I would. Now, as part of the Children’s Advocacy Center I constantly remind myself why I decided I wanted to be part of a CAC and what I believe my purpose is and will always be. Also, that when I doubt myself take a moment to acknowledge and admire all my hard work and dedication to advocating for children.

How was your experience at NIU different than what you expected when you started?
When I first started I had planned to just go to school and do what was expected of me and return home since I was commuting. I never expected to join a sorority or even make the friendships that I made and I’m truly thankful that I took the time to do so.

If you could thank someone (or more than one person) that you didn’t get a chance to thank before you left, who would it be, and what would you say?
If I could thank someone one last time I would thank professors Jane Rose Njue and Scott Sibley.

Dr. Njue, thank you for always pushing me and encouraging me to be the best and do my best. You care deeply for all your students and that alone is a gift. Every question I had you always had an answer and if you didn’t you tried to give me the best answer you could. When I told you I might be changing careers once more you were nothing less than understanding even if it meant not being in human services anymore. You are dedicated to your student’s success and for that I thank you.

Dr. Sibley, you were nothing less than encouraging and understanding. You pushed me to be better and want to be better even when I was scared to fail. You care about your students success, but most importantly you care for their well-being. I always said that your classes were like therapy and they were part of what I needed to heal. Even when I thought I would be leaving human services you were nothing less than encouraging and supportive.

Thank you to you both!

What is something you’d like to come back to do one more time?
If I could come back and do something one more time, I would love to be part of one more rush week for my sorority.

What are some of the things you are most proud of from your time at NIU?
I was able to obtain an amazing internship because of the great preparation I received by my liaison. Not only was I offered a job afterwards with the agency that I interned with, but I also received the Undergraduate Outstanding Intern Award through The School of Family and Consumer Sciences for my program; Human Development and Family Sciences.

If you could give some advice to the high school class of 2020 who will be starting at NIU in the fall, what would it be?
I would say work hard for what you want, but also remember to enjoy every moment of the experience. Leave your mark and be remembered. Push yourself to accomplish your goals because at the end that is why we are there. Cherish all the friendships you make and no matter what be supportive of all. We are all Huskies at the end of the day!

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