When Jose Antonio Lorenzo Valdespino moved to the United States from his homeland of Michoacán, Mexico, he knew the first step to succeeding was to become proficient in English. He had already taken some college courses in engineering back in Mexico and wanted to continue his education here. His dedication and positive mindset outweighed the challenges that would affect him.

Jose began building a strong foundation for his success and future by starting free ESL classes at Daley College in 2015. Although his English was already at an intermediate level, he wanted to become fluent in order to take college credit classes. He soon became a Gateway Scholar, which allowed him to take two free college level courses while completing the ESL program. After just one year, Jose went from ESL classes to college credit classes, on his way to earning his associate degree – which he was able to complete the following year, thanks to the credits he had already earned in Mexico.

Jose did not just go to class and go home – he made sure he utilized all the resources available at Daley to assist him. He spent much of his time speaking to his college advisor, the transfer director, and various tutors for assistance with English. He took it a step further by participating in the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and serving as vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at Daley.

The Daley Transfer Center helped guide Jose on his way to Roosevelt University, where he has continued to set an example of motivation and leadership. When a lack of communication between deans and students was recognized, various students were nominated to form the founding of the student advisory board. The board consisted of a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, and Jose was honored to be among that group of nominees. His efforts to create better practices at Roosevelt did not go unnoticed, and when he applied for a mentorship program, the president of the university himself chose Jose to be his mentee.

Education has always been valued and a high priority in Jose’s family. For him, education is a solution that helps overcome obstacles in life. It is a path you can go down to reach any and all goals. While the road to obtaining a degree can be difficult, in the end, it will pay off. For Jose, no matter what, your “education will always be with you.”

Now, Jose is a year away from graduating from Roosevelt University with his BA in Finance from the Heller College of Business and a minor in Actuarial Science from the College of Arts & Sciences. He hopes to work as a financial manager or actuary upon receiving his degree.

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