The real test of a high school education is how it plays out afterward. CAN graduates are successful, hardworking, and are making contributions in diverse fields. Here are just a few of the many paths taken by Concept Alumni.

Alumni Spotlight
(Week of June 20, 2016)

Paulina Razo

Paulina Razo is an alumna of Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA), Class of 2011. Currently, Paulina is attending Northeastern University majoring in Adolescent Psychology with a minor in Child Advocacy Studies.

Briefly describe your career path.
After graduating CMSA in 2011, I attended Harold Washington College, where I got my associate’s in Art and Science. Upon completing my general education requirements, I transferred to DePaul University. I was determined to major in Secondary English Education. However, when I was placed in a classroom setting, I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do. Based on an elective psych class I really enjoyed, I changed my major to adolescent psychology. Due to economical and field concentration purposes, I transferred to Northeastern Illinois University. I currently finished my internship at Horizon Science Academy at McKinley Park.  I shadowed both the social worker and special education teacher. I plan to graduate in Fall 2016 with a B.A. in Adolescent Psychology with a minor in Child Advocacy Studies. In a near future, I plan to help young teenagers who have been abused or neglected.
What are you passionate about in your work/school?
Ever since I could remember my dad has always told me that the key to success was school and having an education. Thus, I've always been passionate about school. I believe having an education opens different opportunities.
Where is your career headed?
As of right now, I've thought about starting my career off small and working my way up. Having said that, I want to either help low-income teens or juvenile delinquents. As I gain knowledge from these experiences, I will work my way up to a small clinic or hospital to help and treat abuse, trauma or anything related. My ultimate goal is to help young teens find their strengths instead of their weaknesses. I was fortunate enough to have supportive parents to achieve my goals. I want to help those who weren't as lucky as I was to have a chance.
How has your Concept Schools (CMSA) experience helped shape your success?
In 2004, when CMSA first opened, I never imagined how a school would change my life. Transferring from a public school to a Concept school was a major change. I was a sixth grader when I started. Everything was new and different. The fact that the classroom sizes are small gives more one-on- one with the teacher. At CMSA the teachers were always there to provide the assistance I needed. When it came to high school, counselors were really helpful with standardized tests and the whole college process.
What is the most amazing or interesting thing that's happened to you since graduating?
Looking back, since I graduated high school, I believe growth and knowledge has been interesting. It’s crazy how much you can learn though work, life and school.
Your favorite Concept Schools (CMSA) memory?
Having been part of the CMSA community for seven years, the memories are endless. However, the ones that stand out the most took place my senior year, prom and all the trips my class and I went on. To add on, I was able to graduate with the first class to stay together since 2004 when CMSA first opened.
How do you support and participate in the Concept (CMSA) Alumni?
I try to stay in touch with the few teachers at CMSA. Whenever I'm not busy, I attend different events. In addition, I am currently completing the Concept Alumni Mentorship Program with a special education teacher from Horizon Science Academy at McKinley Park.

Concept Alumni Network (CAN) invites suggestions for Alumni Spotlights!
Do you know a Concept Alum(s) who has:
  • An interesting job?
  • An extraordinary story to tell?
  • Made a difference in his/her community?
  • Been a role model for others?
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