Student Spotlight: Carlos “Sam” Ortega-Guerrero

Carlos "Sam" Orgega-Guerrero

Carlos “Sam” Ortega-Guerrero
Major: Associate in Arts

Attending College of DuPage has helped Carlos “Sam” Ortega-Guerrero decide what he wants to be: a college president.

“I cannot think of a position more rewarding, because I can help make post-secondary education more affordable while ensuring the high quality of the courses,” he said. “My family would not have been able to afford a post-secondary education for me if it had not been for College of DuPage. I also think about my future when making decisions, and the prospect of being drowned in debt did not appeal to me because I knew that it would make it more difficult to start my own life.”

Helping Ortega-Guerrero toward his goal was his involvement with the Student Leadership Council. For the 2013-2014 year, he was elected president, which gave him an opportunity to understand the student perspective on campus and to communicate their comments. As president, he also sat on the Shared Governance Council, which serves in an advisory capacity to the College president and consists of the constituency group leaders.

“All of these opportunities have helped to shape my goals in determining who I want to be when I graduate from college, and I have learned to always be aware of the people that you are representing,” he said. 

Ortega-Guerrero also received the Kane County Cougar’s Reading Club Program Scholarship offered through the College of DuPage Foundation. In order to qualify, he needed a minimum 3.0 GPA, past participation in the Cougar’s Reading Club Program while in elementary school, and to write an essay about how it affected his life.

The scholarship helped Ortega-Guerrero pay for his own education without help from his parents. He also works as the center director at Mathnasium and in the Admissions and Outreach office at COD. As the oldest of three boys, he knows the responsibility that comes with it.

“I am always conscious of the example that I am setting for my younger siblings. I want to show them that no matter what obstacles you may face, they can be overcome with hard work and persistence,” he said.

Ortega-Guerrero graduated with his associate’s degree in 2014 and was an Outstanding Graduate finalist. He received a full scholarship to Benedictine University and is majoring in political science. In 2015, he was elected as President of the Student Senate at Benedictine.

After earning his bachelor’s, he would like to obtain a master’s in Management and Organizational Behavior and then teach at a community college. From there he wants to pursue a doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change.

“Being a college or university president would be my dream because I could play a part in making collegiate education affordable for all,” he said. “After receiving help from so many people to get to where I am today, I would love to give back to the community that has given so much to me. The future of the entire nation is in the hands of our education system, and I hope to play a part in its future development.

“College of DuPage has provided me with a plethora of ways to accomplish my educational and career goals. Being involved on campus has allowed me to become an active member in the society I live in. It has shaped who I am today, and it has been great to be able to represent the voice of so many talented students. Not only was being president of the Student Leadership Council an incredible opportunity, it is the journey that brought me here. It is comprised of the people who have helped me to trust myself and who have helped to develop my leadership skills. It is the courses that I have taken, and the adventures that I’ve had the opportunity to partake in.”

More about the Associate in Arts

College of DuPage

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