Nidia was often truant from her classes at Lane Tech due to family issues and ended up graduating in 2007 with a low GPA. After graduation, started working full-time as a customer service representative for a garbage company. She trained new employees, created a training manual, and she was the stand-in supervisor when needed. She tried to move up in the company, applying for other positions after a couple years of working, but wasn’t able to advance without a degree. After taking a class at a four-year college, which was more expensive than she could afford, she decided to start taking classes at Wright College in 2009. By 2013, she had earned her Associate Degree in Human Sciences while still working full-time.

Nidia knew that she wanted to be a social worker to be able to provide the kind of help she could have benefited from when she was younger, so she transferred to Northeastern Illinois University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2015, successfully achieving her goal of graduating without getting into debt by using her 401K. She had an internship as a treatment counselor at Youth Outreach Services while still working full-time, and she even had a part-time job on the weekends as a server and host during some semesters.

As she studied and worked, she often heard about Teach for America, and people around her kept telling her that she was great with kids. She applied, and it changed her life completely. Nidia spent one year as a bilingual teaching assistant at a school in Gage Park and two years teaching Pre-K at a school in Englewood. Nidia earned her Master’s in Education with a concentration in early childhood education with a bilingual endorsement in May of 2018 – all while still working full-time.

During her first year of teaching, she underwent a craniotomy to remove a pituitary tumor, but this did not stop her from pursuing her dreams of being a property owner. She closed on her first property as she was still healing from her surgery. 
Now Nidia is still teaching, managing her property, advocating for her students and their families, and is pursuing her goal of creating systemic changes to address social issues.


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