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Success Stories

City Colleges is committed to the success of the more than 80,000 students we serve each year.

Our faculty and staff are focused on ensuring that students reach their goals, whether that involves transferring to a four-year institution after completion of their degree, securing employment, or advancing in their current career.  

ruman College Success Stories


Class of 2017 Valedictorian    

Social Square_TR VAL.pngAs a relatively new resident of Chicago, Kana has certainly made the most of her time here. Having moved to Chicago from Japan Three-and-a-half years ago with her husband for his job, Kana arrived with limited English skills. Discouraged because she couldn't understand much English she decided to enroll i English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Truman College. After a year of honing her English, she applied to the Gateway Program, which helps ESL and GED students move into credit courses at City Colleges. She soon found her niche in math classes and became a tutor at the Tutoring Center. After focusing on learning English for herself, it felt good to be able to help others with her math abilities.  

She enjoyed her time at Truman because she feels that everyone has equal opportunities. "Even though I'm not an American citizen, I was older than many of the other students, and I am a woman pursuing mechanical engineering, I was always treated equally." She was also able to utilize the academic advisors, transfer advisors, Writing Center, and Math Center. "II took advantage of all the resources Truman offers!"  

Now a mechanical engineering student at the Illinoi Institute of Technology, Kana says it's tough, especially while she is continually striving to improve her communication skills. However, she has a support system in a group of students from City Colleges who transferred to IIT together, which she says is a huge advantage. Kana hopes to continue her education and earn her master's degree at IIT.  


Class of 2017 Salutatorian 

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Sitting in the front row wasn't necessarily a learning strategy for Michael Ndichuck. It was also a necessity. Born and raised in Cameroon, Michael had the opportunity to study in America when his brother, an American citizen, recommended he complete his higher education in Chicago. While Michael was fluent in English, adapting to new accents and American slang was a complicated process. He decided sitting in the front row was the best way to hear his instructors and focus on both the content he was studying and the words his instructors were using.

Michael credits much of his success to his instructors. As someone who doesn't like studying outside of a classroom environment, Michael enjoys having instructors willing to put in the time and effort to answer the necessary questions so he has learned most of the information before he leaves class.  

While living in Cameroon, Michael watched his mother creating home remedies for many sicknesses throughout his childhood It gave him an interest in how to create treatments for the kinds of illnesses that need more than a basic concoction. This curiosity will lead him to continue his studies to become a research pharmacist, building the medicines to help cure diseases in the future.  

TR_Val_Grad16_1400-1.jpgSEAN DELANEY 
Class of 2016 Valedictorian 
In describing his past employment history, Sean says he had “a lot of jobs with no real purpose.” As a poor student in high school, he dropped out and entered the workforce before getting his GED a few years later. Cycling through several jobs, mostly doing manual labor, he eventually realized he wanted a job that offered a career with advancement opportunities, and for that he needed a college education.

Following his passion for cars and for fixing things, Sean started in the automotive technology program at Truman. While auto tech classes were right in his wheelhouse, he dreaded taking the general education courses that had plagued him in high school. He went into the classes hoping to simply pass, but what he found was that the study habits he had gained in his automotive program transferred seamlessly to his other classes. He had to work as hard as he could, but he was proud of the results. With his associate’s degree in hand, Sean plans to continue taking business classes through CCC so he can progress up the management chain.         

Looking for a cost effective way to pursue her life-long passion for medicine, Magdalena discovered City Colleges. A native of Poland, she came to the United States at the age of 22 after studying for two years at a Polish university in a non-medical field. When she arrived in the U.S., she found her coursework wasn’t necessarily transferable and ended up working at the Chicago Board of TradeMedicine, meanwhile, remained a passion for Magdalena, and after a few years she began exploring other ways that she could pursue it. She enrolled at Wilbur Wright College before transferring to Truman for its nursing program. While working part-time, she managed to maintain consistently high grades, something she credits to having had some of the best teachers she ever had and the unwavering support of her husband, all of whom played a key role in helping her complete her degree. After graduation, Magdalena will be pursuing job opportunities to help her pay tuition as she continues studying for a bachelor’s degree in nursing.


2015 Truman College Valedictorian
Born and raised in Brazil, of Italian descent, Juliana is the youngest of two daughters. Despite having a well-established family in her home country, she always wanted to live abroad. Coming to the United States in 2007 through an exchange visitor program, she quickly fell in love with Chicago. After living in Canada for a year, she decided o move back to the United States, and applied to Truman College. Originally she intended to only take prerequisite courses.

Intrigued by the high Nclex passing rates Truman's nursing program had, she decided to leave her business background, and pursue an A.A.S. in Nursing. During her journey at Truman, she took advantage of multiple college resources. Getting over the language barrier was initially very difficult as an international student. Her vows to graduate with honors kept her focused, and graduated in May 2015 as the Valedictorian. She credits her success to her family, especially her husband, for understanding her absence, and unconditionally supporting her decisions.          

She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, has been on the Presidential Scholar list every semester since the Spring of 2012, won the "Truman Book Scholarship Award: for high academic achievement in 2014, and was selected to attend the "International Scholar Laureate Program" in 2014 and 2015. Juliana is transferring to get her RN to BSN degree at North Park University. Juliana says the education she received at Tuman College made her well prepared to pursue not only her Bachelors, but the Masters and PhD degrees she intends to pursue in the near future.          


2015 Truman College Salutatorian
As an undocumented student Christian always assume college wasn't something that would be for him. Falling into the deferred criteria, Christian's prospects were raised, but he needed his GED.

As part of the deferred action program, Christian was able to work and attend school at the same time. Knowing college wasn't something for him, Christian had dropped out of high school. He had to start by getting his GED. By becoming a part of the Gateway Program, Christian was able to pay for school without going into debt. This was a major fear for Christian, and he wasn't sure a degree would be possible without it.           

Having graduated in December 2014, Christian is already taking classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago to get a degree in mechanical engineering. Having been to City Colleges and a four-year school, Christian actually misses the Truman experience. He says the professors are more personal. The interactions are more one-on-one. His teachers at Truman cared more about teaching than research. He will never forget how much that learning environment prepared him for his current program.


2014 Truman College Valedictorian
A.A.S. Degree, Nursing  Hyo Jin Park was born and raised in South Korea. Her mother is an English professor and pastor and her father is a missionary. She has two younger brothers, one who is a student at IIT and the other who studies in Alabama. Hyo Jin studied International Relations back in Korea at Yonsei University, but she always wanted to be a nurse. She came to the US and started studying nursing at Truman College. While at Truman, she had the opportunity to work as a student tutor with the TRiO program for a year. In her teaching experience, she saw a correlation between being a Registered Nurse and a tutor. As a student tutor she gained confidence in her ability to convey knowledge to others in a way that was both effective and easy to understand.   



Paulina Szadkowska-Kociszewski

A.A.S. Degree, Chemical Laboratory Technology 
Class of 2012             




Paulina Szadkowska-Kociszewski came to Truman College to improve her English, but an incentive program for ESL students inspired her to pursue an associate degree. She always had an interested in science and decided to focus on chemistry. This field of study created extra work for Paulina as she was still learning English when she needed to learn the language of chemistry and math.           

In the fall of her final year at Truman College, Paulina attended the 2011 International Institute for Nanotechnology Symposium at Northwestern University. She listened to numerous speakers all day on a Saturday, just enthralled with the field of nanotechnology. When she heard that two City Colleges students would have the opportunity to participate in a nanotechnology internship, she jumped at the opportunity. She was selected for the paid internship program put on by NanoProfessor, a division of NanoInk, Inc. focused on nanotechnology education. Paulina also started a website to share her experiences and chemical engineering news.           

Jitendra Gala

Completed GEDi (online), 2011

Jitendra wanted to change careers and become a nurse. Instead of requesting his high school diploma from his school in India, he decided to obtain his GED diploma. Jitendra chose Truman College’s GEDi program so he could take the prerequisite classes at Truman for its nursing program as he prepared to take the GED. Jitendra passed all of the subjects the first time he took the GED test, even earning a perfect score on the math section. He also earned the Presidential Scholar award twice. He will start the nursing program at Truman College in the fall of 2012.           




Brittney Cedar

Completed GEDi (online), 2012 

Brittney Cedar wanted a quick way to prepare for the GED and continue to work full-time. She opted for Truman College’s online GED classes, which allowed her to progress at her own speed. She was able to complete the program in one semester and passed the GED in spring 2012. Brittany will continue her education at Truman College in the fall as she pursues an associate degree. Her goal is to transfer to a four-year institution and build a career in public relations or marketing.             


Melissa Brand

A.A. Degree, Social Science 
Class of 2012            



Melissa Brand started supporting herself in high school, but couldn’t juggle full-time work and school so she dropped out and passed the GED. After 20 years of administrative work and multiple lay-offs due to the recession and mergers, Melissa decided it was time to try school again. At 38-years-old she enrolled in Truman College with the intention of pursuing a degree that would lead to a stable job. She found that she enjoyed and excelled at writing and that if she tried, she would not only pass her classes, but receive As. She became part of the TRiO program, Phi Theta Kappa and wrote for the school newspaper.            


She graduated from Truman College with high honors in May 2012 with an Associate of Arts in Social Science and will continue her education at Northeastern Illinois University in the fall. Melissa won the only Phi Theta Kappa scholarship offered at NEIU which will cover her tuition for two years and was accepted into the university's honors program. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Media & Theater so she can continue to write after graduation, either as a journalist or in corporate communications.