Empowering Students to Succeed

For Liliana De Leon, starting nursing school during a global pandemic has only reinforced her resolve to enter the health care field.

“When COVID sprang up, that strengthened my hopes even more to want to become a nurse,” says the first-year Alverno student. “It’s important knowing that you’re doing this for another person, another human life.”

Assisting De Leon with her education are scholarships from Alverno and from Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM), an organization that celebrates and supports members of the Hispanic community. Alverno and other colleges in the Milwaukee area are home to HPGM student chapters, which connect students to networking events and professional opportunities.

Earlier this year, Alverno and HPGM partnered to launch a matching scholarship awards program, and De Leon was among the first recipients.

“What the scholarship means to me is that I’ll be able to focus more time on my schoolwork and be able to excel in the classes that will prepare me for my career,” De Leon says.

Once she graduates, De Leon wants to become a nurse practitioner at a clinic serving the underinsured or uninsured.

“Some of those patients don’t have access to many opportunities that other communities do because of their income or because of their background,” she explains. “I believe it’s very important to help out where I started from and to make sure everybody has the means to continue on in life, whether that’s through mental health or physical health.”

The HPGM scholarship program is one of many ways Alverno empowers Hispanic students, who account for about a quarter of our student population. In 2017, Alverno was named Wisconsin’s first Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), a federal designation that brings access to grant and scholarship opportunities to benefit students of all ethnicities.

The HSI designation aligns with Alverno’s mission to create an inclusive community that welcomes, supports and empowers all of our students to succeed.

“I was aware of that as I was applying. I feel like that interested me even more to attend Alverno,” De Leon says of the HSI designation. “It’s nice having people who are like you or come from the same background as you taking the same steps as you are to accomplish something great.”

HPGM Corporation of the Year

Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM) has honored Alverno as its 2020 Corporation of the Year.

The award recognizes Alverno’s status as Wisconsin’s first Hispanic-Serving Institution. It also celebrates Alverno’s ongoing relationship with HPGM, including a thriving student chapter and a new scholarship program. Thank you, HPGM!

This article appears in the fall/winter 2020 issue of Alverno Magazine.

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