After graduating from high school, College of DuPage Student Life Event Specialist Ana Pliego moved to Mexico to pursue becoming a preschool teacher. However, after beginning her studies, she realized that this wasn't the career she really wanted.
Pliego instead decided to attend COD to pursue an Associate in Arts degree and became active on campus, eventually landing a job as a student worker in the College's Office of Student Life. At the same time, Pliego was excelling in the classroom and was named one of COD's two Outstanding Graduates in 2016.
She went on to complete bachelor's degrees in Organizational Communication and Psychology at Elmhurst University and then spent a year working as an au pair while living in France.
During a visit to COD in 2019, Pliego stopped by the Office of Student Life to check in on former colleagues when they informed her of an opening for an event specialist position. She didn't hesitate to apply.
"I was so excited because I experienced firsthand the benefits of what the Office of Student Life provides, and I absolutely loved every minute of my experience as a student worker."
Pliego was hired in December of that year and said becoming a full-time employee has been just as good as her experience as a student worker.
"Being back at COD has been an incredible experience," she said. "Although I only spent a couple of months in my new position working in person before the pandemic, I was instantly reminded of why I loved being a COD student so much. It's been amazing to work with so many of the great people I got to meet while being a student and seeing new students become part of the COD community."
Pliego's favorite aspect of her role is being able to support students by providing them with opportunities to grow and make connections.
"I really appreciated the support that I received from faculty and staff when I was a student, so to now provide that for students while sharing my story of being a COD alum is amazing."
While Pliego has spent much of her time as a full-time employee at the College working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she looks forward to engaging with students when the College community returns to campus.
"What I look forward to most about being back on campus is helping students meet people and build connections at our events. I really miss seeing students enjoying the events and workshops that we have."