Marishell Castillo enrolled at College of DuPage as a second chance to build her academic resume.
“In high school, I was just viewed as an average student,” she said. “My academics were not enough to be considered by a four-year university and my ACT score was not much help, either.”
Castillo initially thought about becoming a registered nurse. But that was before her Introduction to Philosophy course with Professor Keith Krasemann, which provided her with an academic path to follow.
“I loved my course!” she said. “I decided to major in Philosophy. Once I transfer, I would also like to minor in English. I ultimately want to use both in order to become a lawyer.”
While at COD, Castillo received the Naperville Rotary Charities and the Rotary Club of Naperville Scholarship. It paid for her tuition, books and supplies. And it also meant she could go to college and become the first in her family to do so in the U.S.
“To tell the truth, I honestly could not believe I won when I received the email. Once it finally sank in, I called my family to tell them the great news!” she said. “Being the first to attend college in the United States out of my immediate family was something new. I have kept in mind all the sacrifices that my family has made. I work hard not only for myself to become something better in life but to also prove to my family that all their hard work paid off into something great. I could not be any more grateful to the donors, and I want to repay them with my studies and show they donated to someone who took it seriously.”
After graduating from College of DuPage with her Associate in Arts degree, Castillo transferred to DePaul University and earned her bachelor’s degree. Currently working as a legal assistant at a small law firm, she spent several years researching whether a career in law was right for her. Now she is focusing on a dual degree law program and in preparation returned to COD for a class.
As a career, Castillo really has just one goal.
“As cliche as this sounds, I want to be happy going to work, even if I know I have a long day ahead of me,” she said. “COD has prepared me for the next step in my education and I’m proud to say that I attended there. I’ve taken both normal and honors classes and I feel both of them will make an impact later on toward my future. The professors are fantastic and really do try to help students do better in class.
“Apart from that, I was also active in campus clubs. I was even President of Philosophy Club! Between getting involved with the student life and being able to challenge myself with the courses I took, I believe COD really helped me become competitive in my future.
“Going to COD was one of the smartest decisions that I could have ever made, and I am truly grateful for all the chances that the school has provided not only to me but to every student as well.”