Armani Alexander grew up on the South Side and went to Lindblom Math and Science Academy. When he graduated in 2013, he worked different jobs, including in fast food and with his dad who is a contractor, and took some college-level classes. He didn’t, however, know exactly what he wanted to do as a career.
In 2015, he joined Year Up Chicago, which involved six months of classes at Harold Washington College followed by a six month internship at Northwestern Medicine in downtown Chicago. His internship was in the IT department, but the experience opened his mind to a new possibility – healthcare. He had always been interested in the field, but a mentor at Northwestern encouraged him to look at programs in the health sciences.
It was then that he decided to return to school and change his focus from IT to a career first in dental hygiene, and ultimately in dentistry. Already familiar with City Colleges, he took classes at both Kennedy-King College and Malcolm X College in the fall of 2017. Now, all his classes are at Malcolm X College, where he is also getting hands-on experience seeing clients in the dental hygiene clinic. Next semester, he plans to work at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center thanks to a partnership the college has to help students secure externships before they graduate.
“The classes are rigorous, and the faculty have high expectations. I’m getting a lot of hands-on experience, and keep busy on campus,” he says.
Part of what is keeping him busy is his role as Student Trustee, representing all City Colleges students at the Board of Trustee meetings. Not only does he bring information from the Board to the students, but voices student concerns and keeps the Board informed as to what is going on at all seven City Colleges.
Set to graduate in the spring of 2020, Armani plans to work as a dental hygienist while he continues to study. He would like to earn his bachelor’s degree, then eventually go on to dental school.