College of DuPage Graduate Elected as IBHE Student Member
By Brian Kleemann
College of DuPage graduate Stephanie Torres of Naperville has been elected as the new student member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).
A graduate of COD’s Nursing program, Torres currently is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public health at Northern Illinois University. While at College of DuPage, Torres served as Student Trustee on the College’s Board of Trustee and as Student Body President. She then was elected as the student board member on the Illinois Community College Board.
Ironically, Torres was not involved with student government in high school.
“I liked history but mostly ancient history, such as mythology and the Egyptian civilization,” she said. “Then I came to COD and was a science and nursing major. During my senior year of high school, I promised myself I’d get more involved in college. So many students like me don’t know the complexities of all that happens on campus, and I wanted to learn more and meet new people. After I attended my first Living Leadership Program retreat, I understood that the world of leadership is open to anyone willing to seek and learn from it.”
Torres was selected by the IBHE’s Student Advisory Committee and began her term on July 1. She said that involvement in school and civic activities creates the leaders of tomorrow.
“The most important part is learning everything you can during the time you are in college and understanding that civic engagement goes beyond opportunities on campus. In fact, it’s not about politics but about playing an active role,” she said. “I need to keep knocking on doors, and being on the Student Advisory Committee is another opportunity to be even more involved than in I have been in previous years. Every decision made at higher levels of government impacts all of us, and being part of the conversation is great.”
Torres has enjoyed these experiences so much that she changed her major to public health at NIU because she wants to be part of a comprehensive and ongoing examination of how the environment affects people and systems.
“I always wanted to do something where I could become an asset to the environment and community in some way,” she said. “Nursing is a rewarding career, but public health allows me to work with the broader community and to address policy, which affects health care and nursing. I also want to do something that’s not just for myself but as a collective means toward helping one another.”
Torres said her involvement at College of DuPage provided invaluable skills and insight as she pursues her future goals.
“Because of my experiences, I am now a more critical thinker and am able to handle personal and professional obstacles with confidence,” she said. “I often heard ‘The world is our classroom’ at COD, and the opportunities I had there and continue to have now give credence to this statement.”
For more information about College of DuPage’s Nursing program, visit www.cod.edu/nursing.
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