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Success Stories from Harold Washington College

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Ian Dobbins

A.F.A. Degree, Music Performance
Class of 2013

Ian Dobbins came to Harold Washington College for a second chance at education. He studied his passion – music and participated in the HWC Jazz/Pop Ensemble. Ian worked hard to maintain straight A’s and it earned him acceptance at his dream school, Columbia University in New York City, to study anthropology and jazz. His goal is to help people and create more equality in the world. 




Michele Miller
A.A. Degree
Class of 2012

Michele initially came to City Colleges to study Business Administration and eventually transfer to a four-year institution. After taking a few courses, Michele discovered that her true passion was working with people and switched gears to complete an Associate in Arts degree. During her first few years at City Colleges, she juggled working and attending class part-time. Michele lost her job due to the recent economic downturn and decided to use the opportunity to go to school full-time. She completed her Associate in Arts Degree and graduated as a member of the class of 2012. Michele recently accepted a position as an Associate Client Programs Analyst at Allscripts, a company that provides healthcare information technology solutions for hospitals and physicians, through the College to Careers partnership. She plans to attend DePaul University's School for New Learning with a focus on healthcare. 



Timothy Bradford​

A.A. Degree, Anthropology
Class of 2012 - Valedictorian

Timothy Bradford enrolled at Harold Washington College after serving 4.5 years in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Iraq. Upon completion of his military service he decided to continue his education and found that not only did he need to learn academic skills such as math and critical thinking, but, as a veteran, he also had to learn how to operate in the civilian world within a classroom setting. He has succeeded during his time at Harold Washington, earning a 4.0 GPA, being elected Vice-President of SGA and awarded the title of valedictorian of the Graduating Class of 2012. Bradford credits Harold Washington’s student services with his success, including veterans’ services, tutoring and the Writing Center. He is especially grateful for the mentors he acquired at the college who gave him encouragement, advice and even a suit for a job interview. Bradford will begin studying anthropology and social justice at DePaul University in the fall. After earning his bachelor degree, he hopes to give back to his community by helping non-profit and social service organizations better understand the communities they serve.  


James Barnett
A.A. Degree, Addiction Studies
Class of 2012

James Barnett always dreamed of going to college but let substance abuse and other problems keep him from achieving his dream for more than 40 years. Finally, in 2010 he decided that it was time to change his life for the better and enrolled at Harold Washington College.  

He started taking classes in a learning environment that had changed considerably since he was last in school. What he found most frustrating was his first class – Introduction to Microcomputers. He watched as all of his classmates quickly caught on to assignments while he struggled with turning on the computer. He decided then that he would work his hardest and take whatever help he could find to succeed. He was a regular visitor to the tutoring center and to his advisor. He did succeed - qualifying for the honors society Phi Theta Kappa, winning the Friends of Harold Washington College Award and graduating with his associate degree at the age of 61. In the Fall of 2012 he transferred to the University of Illinois-Chicago, and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 2014.  He was then accepted into the University of Illinois-Chicago's Masters of Social Work (MSW) program, and plans to complete in 2017.  He wants to spend the rest of his life motivating, inspiring and setting an example to anyone who needs to overcome a negative past.

Carlos Guzman
A.A. Degree, Business
Class of 2010

When Carlos Guzman moved to the United States, he found it difficult to find a job with a strong company without an education. He decided to attend Harold Washington College because of the low-price tag and appreciated the friendly advisors who helped him develop a strong program to meet his academic and career goals. Before graduation, he was offered a licensed banker position and after graduation he was quickly promoted to licensed financial center manager. Carlos credits his quick promotion to the strong education and associate degree he received at Harold Washington College.   

Attending Harold Washington College has inspired Carlos to pursue a four-year degree. Currently he’s pursuing a bachelor of science degree in technical management at DeVry University and is also pursuing a second associate degree in computer information systems at Harold Washington College.

Olajide Banks
Olajide Banks, a former student research assistant in City Colleges of Chicago's Undergraduate Research Collaborative, began his graduate work in chemistry at the University of Mississippi in Fall 2011. Olajide worked as a chemistry research assistant at Harold Washington College for two years before transferring to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, in the fall of 2009. While at City Colleges, he was an active member of the Undergraduate Research Collaborative, serving as a peer mentor for new students, presenting his research at national conferences, and participating in several summer research internships. In the spring of 2009, he was named an American Chemical Society Scholar and was awarded a Hope College transfer scholarship. He earned a degree in chemistry from City Colleges in May 2011.


Sulaimon Segun

Sulaimon Segun joined the Undergraduate Research Collaborative in the spring of 2009. He worked with two mentors, one at Harold Washington College and one at Wright College, before graduating with an associate of science degree with high honors in May of 2010. In the fall of that year, Sulaimon transferred to the University of Illinois-Chicago where he majored in pharmacology. His research at City Colleges with Dr. Warren Menezes of Wright College contributed to an article, “A Comparative Study of Successful Central Nervous System Drugs Using Molecular Modeling,” published in the Journal of Chemical Education. Sulaimon is listed as one of several student co-authors.

Arcelia Ortega

In the spring of 2012, Arcelia Ortega began a baccalaureate program in chemistry at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Arcelia served as a student research assistant in the Physical Science Department at Harold Washington College from Fall 2008 to Spring 2011, when she earned her associate of science degree with high honors. As a research assistant at City Colleges, she participated in three full-time summer research programs at Hope College. In 2010, she was named an American Chemical Society Scholar, which helped pay for her undergraduate studies.

Dan Wiet

Dan Wiet was one of four students on an internship with the Chicago Initiative for Research and Recruitment in Undergraduate Science (CIRRUS) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He worked with a group of undergraduate students, gathering and analyzing soil samples in Lincoln Park to gauge the neighborhood’s fitness, both for urban agriculture and human habitation. Dan generated maps showing spatial changes in soil nutrient and lead concentrations. The project was presented as a poster during the program’s final symposium and again in Fall 2011 at an undergraduate symposium at DePaul University. Dan is working toward a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences.