Future Huskie Noemi Rodriguez demonstrates endurance, perseverance along path to NIU

At one point in her life, Noemi Rodriguez saw her chances of going to college as almost nonexistent.

But the senior at Kelly High School in Chicago changed her mindset at the age of 17 when she joined ESCALERA, a youth development program administered by Instituto del Progreso Latino (IDPL).

As a leading educational institution annually catering to more than 14,000 participants and families in Chicago, ESCALERA brings the dream of a college degree into reach for students such as Rodriguez. It piques in them an awareness of higher education and helps them through any barriers they encounter during their pursuit of degrees.

In ESCALERA, Rodriguez gained the tools and experiences that would make her dream of attending college a reality. She served an internship during summer 2010 with one of IDPL’s board members, Emily Prieto, director of the Latino Resource Center at NIU.

Thanks to her outstanding performance, Rodriguez received one of NIU’s VIP Scholarships and the chance to serve as an intern alongside Prieto during the fall 2011 semester. Rodriguez also attended the CHANCE and LRC Latino Leadership and Academic Achievement reception Saturday, April 2, where she watched as incoming Latino freshmen were recognized for their achievements.

Rodriguez is appreciative of ESCALERA and the opportunity to attend NIU.

“ESCALERA and my work with Emily Prieto helped me think more about school, and it opened a lot of doors for me and helped me gain confidence,” she says. “I now feel that the sky is the limit for me.”

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