Dolores Sanchez always knew she wanted to go to college, she just wasn’t exactly sure where. After moving to the United States from Mexico in 2010, Dolores took local ESL classes and attended Morton East High School in Cicero, IL.

Driven by a strong desire to further her education, she planned on going to local community college to save money. City Colleges of Chicago offered the best path forward for her.

Always a curious person and learner, Dolores was fascinated by biology and nature. When her friend participated in a NASA-funded 16-week research internship, she wanted to apply for it too – and she got it! The internship helped her think more about science from the process perspective and had a major influence on her pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences.

Dolores, a first-generation college student, states that “CCC doesn’t get as much attention as it should get.”

She was very appreciative of Malcolm X’s Resource Center, and relied upon professors who helped with tutoring, writing resumes, and even applying for scholarships. These were pivotal resources in navigating the internship and transfer process. In fact, Dolores was the recipient of the Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science (LAS GANAS) research fellowship in 2017, which awarded her $10,000 to work closely with experienced researchers while earning college credit and gaining hands-on experience.

Reflecting fondly on her time at Malcolm X College, Dolores was an active member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the Bio Club, of which she was the treasurer and very involved.

Dolores recalls that “the biology professors were amazing- especially Marcela Bernal-Munera.”

The help professors provided with the transfer process was instrumental in her being able to visualize what transferring into her four-year university of choice would be like and then making it happen.

Dolores recommends that new City Colleges students start networking early, utilizing all the resources offered through the schools. She also suggests knowing what tutoring is available and to visit the Transfer Center your first semester. Dolores notes that outstanding mentors like Natalia Zuniga helped her navigate the transfer process.

Dolores, now working in a biodata company in Chicago, advises aspiring students to “not give up, keep trying, and set high expectations. Don’t give up if you have a dream.”

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