As the first in her family to graduate from college, Ana Valencia didn’t get experienced counsel around the dinner table.
But things worked out all right for the 2007 UI grad, who 10 years after earning her bachelor's degree in international studies was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Chicago's city clerk.
"Coming to campus opened my eyes to a whole new side of life," Valencia says. "Sitting on the Quad, I could watch the whole world walk by. It is the one place on campus where you could see U of I’s true diversity.
"Everyone would came together, regardless of who they were — athletes, international students, Greek life and so on. And it wasn’t just the people; it was the grandiosity of the campus buildings that surround the lawn.
"It made you feel like you were a part of something bigger, larger than yourself."