Elizabeth Ramirez, a sophomore at Moraine Valley Community College, was one of 400 students from across the country to attend the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference in San Diego, California.
“This was such a rewarding experience, and it exceeded all of my expectations,” said Ramirez, of Blue Island. “The conference provided me and many others with an overwhelming set of personal and professional skills to allow us to excel in our education and life, and be prepared to enter the workforce.”
Ramirez was granted a scholarship through HACU to attend the conference, a three-day career development and networking symposium to build undergraduate students’ career skills. She was among 2,000 attendees to participate in workshops and hear panel discussions by members of the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Army, Deloitte, Sodexo, the Smithsonian Institute, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Eli Lily, Proctor and Gamble, The Central Intelligence Agency, Chick-Fil-A, MGM Resorts, and more.
Representatives from the companies and organizations talked to the students about many topics, including internships, graduate school opportunities, creating dynamic resumes, development of professional network while still in school, leadership skills, and effective communication skills.
“The conference provided me the opportunity to connect one-on-one with hiring managers and recruiters from federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies. The biggest thing I learned was the importance of networking, academic excellence and the vast amount of opportunities available to Hispanic students seeking a higher education,” she said.
Ramirez, who is in honors classes and the honor society Phi Theta Kappa, is the first one in her family to attend college.
“My parents are so proud of me for these opportunities,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity. It has opened doors toward advancing my future.”
Majoring in finance and accounting with a minor in business management, Ramirez is a participant in the DePaul Admission Partnership Program (DAPP), which offers a partial scholarship. She is vice president of the Moraine Valley student club Alliance of Latin American Students, works in the college’s Multicultural Student Affairs Office and is employed at two local fast-food restaurants.