Meet Nancy '22
This month we highlight senior student Nancy ‘22, who works at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office as part of the Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). The CWSP provides the opportunity for students to gain a professional work experience while earning a majority of their tuition. The early career exposure, mentorship, and networking students receive through the CWSP is invaluable in positioning them to succeed in college and beyond.
What are you involved with outside of the classroom?
I am a member of Minds Matter, Student Council, Ambassadors Club, National Honor Society, and the varsity soccer team. I also work part time to help my family at a Senior Living Facility.
Where have you been assigned to work as part of the Corporate Work Study Program?
My freshman and sophomore years I worked at Grant Thornton. During my freshmen year I was part of the Internal Client Services department and the mail room. My sophomore year I was part of the Text and Marketing Department, working on tasks like updating their employee onboarding presentation. Unfortunately, last year I did not have a job due to Covid, but I took a Microsoft Excel Certification course instead and learned more tech skills.
Now as a senior, I work at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office a couple of blocks away from the school.
What motivated you to attend Cristo Rey?
I first heard about Cristo Rey from friends. I visited the school for an open house and learned that 100% of students are accepted to college. I was impressed and interested by the college piece. Also, the community aspect because I wanted to start fresh with a new group of people.
What work and/or projects are assigned to you at your CWSP job?
At the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, I work on a variety of projects: digitizing paper files, filing case reports, reviewing body camera footage that will be used in cases, contacting other districts requesting documents, and importing and exporting case data to their database. I enjoy the work, some can be repetitive like the file digitalization, but the camera reviews and calls to other departments helped make my days different.
What I like the most is the inside view to cases. I work with three assistant state’s attorneys and when my supervisor, a lawyer, has a court day and it is on my workday, I join her. I have visited a courtroom twice already! I sit behind my supervisor. She encourages me to ask questions about the case or the process. I will add, it is rewarding seeing the reports I helped put together being used in a trial – I did that for them.
What do you believe has gone well at your CWSP job?
I gained confidence when speaking to adults. Overall, I became more communicative. The Corporate Work Study Program expanded my view on a lot of things. To start working in the city at an office at age 14 – that is unheard of! I am able to see my coworkers do their jobs and actually believe I can do that one day. I realized I have so much more to see and CWSP encourages me to explore my options.
What do you believe has not gone so well at your CWSP job?
Adjusting to the culture can be challenging. There has been limited Hispanic representation at my CWSP jobs – I cannot always talk with someone who can relate to me.
For my current job, the onboarding process was scary and intimidating at first, especially seeing policeman, security guards, and their dogs, especially being Hispanic. After a few visits, I began to be recognized by the guards, which made it better.
What do your post-graduation plans look like?
I applied to 20 colleges and have received 14 responses – I can proudly say they have all have been acceptances! Some schools with acceptances are Boston College, Fordham University, Fairfield University, Boston University, Northeastern University, and the University of Dayton. My number one choice is Boston College.
What is your favorite class?
My favorite class is AP Government because we cover big topics, and I can relate them to my work at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. In class, we cover a variety of court cases, review scenarios and precedents, and have debates. It has also helped improve my overall vocabulary.
What do your parents think about Cristo Rey?
My parents tell me “Que no me conforme con lo que estoy acostumbrada. Y me deje influenciar por gente who are more successful. Don’t live week by week. There is a whole world out there.” (Translation: “Don’t be satisfied with what I am used to. And to let myself be influenced by people who are more successful.”)