Amy Ortega is a full-time nursing student, full-time employee, mom of two who is graduating in May. She’s an excellent student with a 3.8 GPA who is starting her second career here at Malcolm X College in hopes of someday working with the neediest of patients in our most vulnerable communities. She sits in the front row of class and asks all the questions, keeping all her professors on their toes. Every semester, she and her family scrape together enough to pay the tuition, often putting them in the hole with other debts. At one point, she was working one full-time job and two part-time jobs while attending school full-time. This is while taking care of her two young children. But she did. She is the student who shows up in the fifth-floor hallway waiting for you to get out of class, so she can give you a birthday donut because she knows you have had an awful week. She meets you in the secret seating area of the fourth floor to let you vent and cry about how stressed you are even though she is working nights and going to clinicals the next day. She is the one that the other students have begun calling “mom,” because she makes sure that everyone has enough snacks, drinks enough water, and stays on track. She has given her all to her classes and the nursing program, and, after she graduates in May, she will head to UIC to continue her nursing studies.

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