The University of Chicago News Office
Sept. 17, 2003 Press Contact: William Harms
(773) 702-8356

University of Chicago announces the first five Chicago Public School scholarship recipients


Additional Contacts:
Eve C. Hyatt
CPS Office of Communications

The first five recipients of the University of Chicago/Chicago Public Schools Scholarship Program have been selected. Each will receive full, four-year tuition scholarships to the University of Chicago. The students were selected on the basis of academic talent, extra-curricular accomplishments and other factors. They will begin their studies this fall in the College, the University’s undergraduate division. The students will be introduced to the University community at a ceremony Wednesday, September 17, at 4 p.m. in the third floor lecture hall of Swift Hall, 1025 E. 58th St., on the University campus.

The new scholarship program will eventually enroll a total of 20 Chicago Public Schools students at the University. It was launched earlier this year through a gift of the Crown family of Chicago to recognize outstanding students who attend public schools in the city. The University is now seeking applicants for a new set of scholarship recipients from students currently enrolled as seniors in the Chicago Public Schools. The scholarships are renewable for four years and provide full tuition for each year of a student’s enrollment in the College. Current annual tuition in the College is $27,324.

“The scholarship program with the University of Chicago is an outstanding opportunity for student success,” said CPS Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan. “I appreciate the generosity of the Crown family and the University of Chicago for their vision and commitment.”

“The education students receive at the University of Chicago is justly famous,” said University of Chicago President Don Michael Randel. “Unfortunately, it is not available to all those who wish to take advantage of it, or even to all those who are intellectually prepared to do so. But through this new scholarship program and the Crown family’s generosity, many more Chicago public school students will be able to experience the University’s curriculum and teaching first hand. I know they will benefit greatly, and that the University will benefit greatly from their presence here.”

In addition to the University of Chicago/Chicago Public Schools Scholarship Program, the University also launched the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars program this year, with a summer program that brought 78 Chicago Public Schools students to campus to take classes from distinguished faculty members. Those students, who are now high school sophomores, will continue their work on campus throughout the coming academic year as they take part in both academic and cultural activities. The University is accepting applications for the Summer 2004 University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program from students who are freshmen this year in the Chicago Public Schools.

The five winners are:

  • Laura Cervantes, a resident of the McKinley Park area, who sharpened her intellectual skills through debate competition at Kennedy High School. “Debate also taught me that hard work is rewarded because my partner and I went on to win the Chicago Urban Debate League city championship after a long season of rigorous work,” Cervantes said. She also is a cross-country runner, and she was a member of a team that won the CPS city championship in 2001.
  • Marco Mendez, who became interested in science through involvement in a University of Chicago program on dinosaurs. He is a graduate of the Noble Street Charter School and a resident of the Brighton Park neighborhood. Mendez was one of the original students who began working with University of Chicago Professor Paul Sereno’s Project Exploration program in 1998, just before it was formally launched. As a result, Mendez has been looking for dinosaurs in the field since he was in eighth grade, as part of the program that exposes inner city young people to science and provides them with resources that would otherwise be beyond their reach. “I plan to major in developmental biology. With that I plan to study gene expression in various organisms with the hope of understanding why nature works the way it does,” he said.
  • Sully Paz, a resident of the Albany Park neighborhood and a graduate of Von Steuben High School. Her parents are natives of the village of Estanzuela in Guatemala, and Paz works with the Committee of Eztanzuelensen Residents in Chicago to gather school supplies, wheel chairs, crutches, clothes and toys for people in the village. In high school, she took part in Scholastic Bowl. “We played many schools and the challenge was a lot of fun. I was the chemistry and Spanish person on the team,” Paz said.
  • Valery Shubinets, a graduate of Lake View High School, who brings an interest in medicine with him. “I did an internship at Northwestern medical lab in which I spent two months studying pathogen motility (structural and molecular organization of bacterial tails). It was exciting to have hands-on experience in a lab,” Shubinets said. He intends to study biological sciences at the University. In high school, Shubinets was active in the Chess Club and also participated in wrestling, soccer and weightlifting. He intends to continue wrestling at the University.
  • Ashley Garrison, a resident of the Beverly neighborhood and a graduate of Morgan Park High School, where she completed the International Baccalaureate program. “It was probably the most challenging thing I did because I had to learn to manage my time to keep up with all the work the teachers expected us to do,” Garrison said. She also was involved in the University’s Office of Special Programs, which provides other college preparatory opportunities. Garrison was inspired by her experiences to start a tutoring program for children in her church, a project that has been expanded to become a community center that now includes a band, dances and other activities. Garrison was a summer intern at Argonne National Laboratories and has yet to decide on a concentration in the College.

The University of Chicago/Chicago Public Schools Scholarship Program and the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program expand an already strong array of programs that link the University and the Chicago Public Schools. In some of these programs, University faculty work with Chicago public school students and their teachers to provide additional learning opportunities. The University operates a Charter School in North Kenwood-Oakland, and it provides extensive technology support to 29 local schools.

The University of Chicago, one of the nation’s leading research universities, has a faculty of 2,100 and a student body of 4,200 undergraduates and 8,889 graduate and professional students. More than 70 University of Chicago faculty, researchers and alumni have earned Nobel Prizes since the institution was founded in 1890.

The Chicago Public Schools system is the nation’s third-largest school district and the second-largest employer in Illinois, with more than 43,000 employees. The school system operates 600 schools and serves approximately 437,000 students.
Last modified at 03:30 PM CST on Thursday, September 18, 2003.

University of Chicago News Office
5801 South Ellis Avenue - Room 200
Chicago, Illinois 60637-1473
(773) 702-8360
Fax: (773) 702-8324
Contact Us