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Andres Lagunas began pursuing a degree in political science at DePaul University this past year as a Pullman Scholar. He has ambitions to help others throughout his life and believes that his scholarship from the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation will help him on his journey. He is seen above volunteering for his DePaul chapter of Habitat for Humanity. We checked in with Andres to chat about his first year of college and to ask what being a Pullman Scholar means to him.
Throughout my life, I have seen social inequality embedded in the community that has nurtured and raised me. It was embedded before I even knew it was there, and it was there before my family knew what it was and how it got there.
From childhood, I felt like I was, without choice, supposed to be a product of pain and violence. Growing up, I was ascribed as a “minority” without approval. I was put into a system that I did not know was in place and told that if I was lucky, I could one day make something of myself.
But I did not want to rely on luck.
I wanted to prove that I am not a minority because being a minority means that I am less than everyone else when I am not. As I progressed through high school I knew that I did not want to settle for less but rather I wanted to settle for more. I wanted my life to be as complex and fulfilling as my Hispanic identity. I wanted to know that life offers more than forced smiles. I wanted a chance at true happiness and liberty. I needed a chance to escape. My college was that escape.
DePaul University, to me, represents social justice. It has allowed me to represent its Vincentian mission and given me the opportunity to make something of myself, and that has meant more than what any fortune could denote.
My passions in life include helping others, uncovering the mysteries of the universe, and giving back to the community. That is essentially what I center my time around. Whether if I am helping out in the Habitat for Humanity Chapter at my school or teaching children the foundational literacy skills they need to succeed in their later years of education, I feel as though I am always trying to give back to my community. I aspire to make a change and unfold the untold chapters of my life, so I use my time as a way to make a positive impact and bring a sense of jubilation to someone else.
The first semester of college has been a time for growth. It has allowed me to explore my passions and interests while staying true to myself. It has granted me the opportunity to meet new people and experience things I did not even think about before. It has proved to be a time of reflection and a gateway to many future opportunities and career pathways. College, in general, seems so different from high school because it is greater in size and has many more resources. It develops the need for independence, allows students to be advocates for what they believe in, and ultimately themselves. Personally, what makes college much more different than high school is the availability to learn about nearly anything and learn about topics that are actually worthwhile and of interest.
I have grown as a flower does between the cracks of sidewalks. My potential to bloom has always been within me, but I feel as the Pullman Foundation has been the soil that has truly nurtured my potential and allowed me to present myself as a leader within my community. Being a part of the program has been a great benefit as it has aided me in being able to afford college as well as granting me the acquaintance of the leaders of our future.
Although several barriers have presented themselves in my life that try to keep me grounded to the lowest standards of life, the Pullman Foundation has taught me that I may lie upon the moons and stars if I work for it. Instead of teaching to settle for less, the Pullman Foundation has taught me to aim for more and go beyond that.
I am proud to be representing the Pullman Foundation because it continues to allow the creation for a better future for several people that are hoping to make their dreams reality. Truly, the Pullman Foundation has aided in changing my world and allows me to take further steps towards achieving the great mysteries of life.
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Since 1950, the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation has supported over 14,000 students like Andres with merit-based, need-based scholarships so that they may attend the college or university of their choice. Please join the Foundation’s supporters by making a tax-deductible donation in honor of scholars like Andres and support the Pullman Foundation’s mission of Keeping the American Dream on Track.
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May 21, 2018, Chicago, IL –Dr. George Gloeckler, renowned physicist, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished professor emeritus of the University of Maryland, surprised the audience at the 5th annual Pullman Foundation Scholar Symposium, announcing that he and his wife, Christine, are gifting $50,000 to the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation. Dr. Gloeckler, who made the announcement following his keynote address at the May 21, 2018 event, attended the University of Chicago after receiving a scholarship from the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation, earning a degree in physics in 1960. He went on to complete his doctorate in physics, later using his expertise to design the instrumentation for NASA’s Voyager and Ulysses space missions.
Gloeckler’s inspiring story began during World War II in Odessa, Ukraine. By age seven, he was fleeing the Soviet Union with his family. When Gloeckler was 14, sponsored by a Chicago church, his family found their way to the U.S. Even with a limited grasp of English, Gloeckler excelled academically to the top of his class at Crane Tech High School (currently Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School). To this day Gloeckler remembers his interview at the Pullman Foundation, and he treasures the letter notifying him that he won the scholarship.
“Now I’m here, and I’m able to give back, it makes us feel good to contribute to the organization that has made all of this beautiful life possible for us,” Gloeckler shared with the audience following his announcement.
“We are so tremendously grateful for the Gloecklers’ generosity,” stated Robin Redmond, the Foundation’s executive director. “Their story is so emblematic of what the Pullman Foundation—and the American Dream—is all about: the ability to pursue one’s aspirations regardless of where you come from or any obstacles that present themselves.”
The Gloecklers’ gift will be used to support the 2019 cohort of Pullman Scholars.
Endowed by railroad magnate George Pullman, the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation has been keeping the American Dream of education on track for Chicago-area students since 1950. As one of the oldest scholarship foundations in the country, the Pullman Foundation has ensured access to higher education by awarding $33 million in scholarships to more than 14,000 high-achieving students with significant financial needs.
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Gabriella (Ellie) Marino began pursuing a degree in psychology at Marquette University this past year as a Pullman Scholar. In addition to her studies, she has also immersed herself in plenty of activities in and around campus. She is seen above at her favorite place on campus: Marquette’s Joan of Arc Chapel. We checked in with Ellie to see how her first year was going and to ask what being a Pullman Scholar means to her.
I became interested in Marquette University because I had always liked the idea of attending a city school, but since I went to high school in Chicago, I wanted a change in scenery. Upon visiting, I fell in love with the school and I loved the close proximity to the city of Milwaukee. There is so much to do in the city, and I am grateful for the opportunities that this provides me. I was accepted into the Honors College at Marquette, and their unique program caught my attention, as well. Marquette University is a great school, and I know that I made the right choice!
I am involved in a lot at Marquette, and I try to make time to continue pursuing some of my favorite pastimes, which include reading, photography, and writing. I am involved in the Marquette University Band, and I love the opportunity to do something I am so passionate about with some of my best friends! Since I am so close to Milwaukee, I definitely love going into the city and seeing all that it offers. In doing this, I have been to concerts, poetry slams, and art galleries. This has been a great way for me to explore the city while also learning a lot about myself and others, and I look forward to doing it in the future.
First semester was truly a whirlwind of activity. There was a lot of adjustment, ranging from living in a residence hall to the amount of essays I had to write. However, I loved my classes and professors, so the transition was relatively easy. It was different from high school in many ways, but I primarily noted the change in independence that college brings. Now that I am in college, I have to completely organize my own life, whether it be signing important documents to deciding when to have dinner and what to buy at the grocery store. However, I absolutely love college and I am having a great time, and my first semester could not have gone better! Although it was hectic at times, I learned a lot about myself and the people around me, and I can’t wait for another seven semesters at Marquette.
I enjoy being a Pullman Scholar because it means that I am truly a part of something bigger. Knowing that I am a member of such an incredible organization gives me a sense of belonging and pride, and I feel very lucky to be a part of such a widespread community. To me, it means that I am involved in a society of people who all share a commonality and can learn about one another and experience college together. The Pullman Foundation has given me such a unique opportunity to communicate with such a diverse group of students, and I am so grateful for all that I am learning. I truly look forward to continuing my time as a Pullman Scholar, and I believe that it has given me so much potential for success.
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Since 1950, the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation has supported over 14,000 students like Ellie with merit-based, need-based scholarships so that they may attend the college or university of their choice. Please join the Foundation’s supporters by making a tax-deductible donation in honor of scholars like Ellie and support the Pullman Foundation’s mission of Keeping the American Dream on Track.
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