Meet Rosalie Navarrete ’18

First-Generation Success

Senior working hard to make her parents proud

Finance major Rosalie Navarrete ’18 was a bit apprehensive when she arrived at Elmhurst College as a first-year student.

“I come from a lower-income community, so I was worried about being judged when I came to Elmhurst,” recalled Navarrete, who grew up in the Little Village neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side.

“But as soon as I got here, I realized that everyone is friendly and supportive. They want to see you succeed.”

The daughter of a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Navarrete is a first-generation college student. Many first-gens face extra challenges in earning a degree, but Navarrete is determined to beat the odds and make her parents proud.

On top of a full load of courses, she works part time at Byline Bank in Schaumburg—a “great opportunity” that she found through the Russell G. Weigand Center for Professional Excellence. She commutes to campus from her family’s home in Little Village, where she helps her mother baby-sit her nieces and nephews after school.

And that’s not all—in an effort to save on tuition costs, Navarrete is on track to graduate in just three years.

An Elmhurst College scholarship recipient, Navarrete said the financial support she’s received has been critical to her success.

“My scholarship meant my father didn’t have to work so hard to put me through school, and that has allowed us to spend more time together as a family,” she said.

“My parents work 24/7 to give us opportunities they never had,” she added. “I’m determined to give back to them one day. That’s why I’m here. I have a lot of motivation to make my family proud.”

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