When Maupressa Brown started taking classes at Malcolm X College in 2016, she would regularly walk past the Malcolm X memorial on campus, making sure she stopped to re-read the tribute about his life’s work and legacy every time. Even five years later, the words continue to inspire her, reminding her of what she’s in school to accomplish.

Once Maupressa receives her associate degree in nursing this spring, she’s determined to follow the example set by Black community leaders like Malcolm X by making a difference for Black and underserved communities herself. Her goal is to obtain a job as a school nurse in the city, where she can care for Black adolescents and help to break the stigma around mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has only further strengthened her determination, as she’s seen how minority communities have been hit harder by the virus – to the detriment of both their physical and mental health.

The career path is different from Maupressa’s previous life in the military, where she served for six years as a hazardous materials specialist and truck driver. Maupressa says she “grew up” in the Army, enlisting shortly after she graduated from high school. However, after sustaining an injury, she returned home to Chicago and was encouraged to look into going back to school. She had seen the Malcolm X campus while driving on the expressway, and after learning more about the college, she realized it would be a perfect fit.

Maupressa says the Veterans Services team at Malcolm X made her feel excited about heading back into the classroom. Robert Thompson, the Veterans Services Specialist at the college, helped her secure benefits and financial aid right away, and he has continued to support Maupressa throughout her educational journey. With Robert’s help, Maupressa has taken advantage of services like the Tutoring Center and the Disability Access Center, which has provided her with support to manage symptoms of PTSD from her time in the service.

As she looks forward to graduation, Maupressa is also looking back on the last several years at Malcolm X fondly. “Starting at City Colleges was one of the best things I could’ve done,” she said. “CCC gives you a community.”

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