Northwestern to welcome 2 Chicago Star Scholars


Kristina Karisch/The Daily Northwestern

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a luncheon on May 12. Emanuel honored 25 Chicago Star Scholars who received scholarship money and internship placements through the program.

Kristina Karisch, Assistant City Editor

CHICAGO — Twin brothers Nadeem and Naeem Patel didn’t think attending a four-year university was within their financial means when they applied to college as seniors at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago.

“(We) applied to a bunch of schools, but didn’t really get any financial aid,” Nadeem Patel said. “So we tried to look at other options. My mom went to community college, and she said we should look into it.”

They did, and ended up discovering a program called the Chicago Star Scholarship, which allows high school graduates to enroll cost-free at City Colleges of Chicago and earn an associate’s degree.

The Patel brothers — who graduated from Harry S. Truman College this spring — were part of the 120-student inaugural class of Star Scholars, which began in fall 2015. They both plan to attend Northwestern as juniors in the fall, having received financial support through a transfer scholarship provided by the financial company CME Group.

The $5,000 scholarships were awarded to 25 Star Scholars at a luncheon on May 12, and will help students who plan on transferring to a Chicago Star Partnership school to earn bachelor’s degrees in a field related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended the luncheon and commended the students on their efforts.

Northwestern announced its partnership with the program in April 2016, pledging to “offer annual scholarships of up to $50,000 to City Colleges of Chicago students who are admitted as undergraduate students and transfer to Northwestern,” according to an April 2016 news release.

“Nothing gives us as a city greater pride, than to see young men and women who hold up … a very important value,” Emanuel said at the May 12 luncheon. “That value is that the ability for you to pursue your dream isn’t whether your parents can afford your education, it’s whether you’ve worked hard for your education. … Work is how you get ahead.”

Additionally, four of the 25 students were selected to participate in a summer internship at a clearing firm that partners with the group.

Emanuel was joined at the luncheon by City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado, University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor Michael Amiridis and CME Group CEO Terry Duffy.

“We are proud to support the Mayor’s Chicago Star Scholarship and the opportunities it provides for our city’s hard working and high-achieving (Chicago Public Schools) graduates,” Duffy said in a news release preceding the luncheon. “The program is testament to the strength of not only our city’s schools, but our talented students — and investing to enable them to continue their education today will only increase the vitality of our future business community tomorrow.”

Both of the Patel brothers said that if all goes well, they plan on majoring in computer engineering and computer science, and hope to attend medical school down the line. Nadeem Patel said the highly ranked programs at Northwestern appealed to him and his brother.

“You know you’re going to be in an environment where they’re going to push you,” Nadeem Patel said. “You’re surrounded by other students who work just as hard.”

This story was updated updated to clarify that the CME Group provided the $5,000 scholarships awarded May 12, and that the four students who were selected to participate in a summer internship will work at a clearing firm.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated what the Star Scholarship Program does and how many students received summer internships through the CME Group. The program allows students to enroll cost-free at City Colleges of Chicago, and four students received internships. The Daily regrets the errors.

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