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Dimitra Georgouses/MA Economics
“I’ve seen my own perspectives change since I’ve been at Roosevelt. My course work has helped me understand where people are coming from and the struggles they face. That is knowledge I will use if my career leads to policy making.”
If financial grants for students were threatened, if student voter registration was low, or even if the Roosevelt Lakers needed cheerleaders, Dimitra Georgouses jumped in to help.
In fact, Dimitra was one of the most involved students in the history of Roosevelt. She is a recent graduate of Roosevelt University, earning her BA in Sociology and Political Science with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. During her time here as an undergraduate student, Dimitra was a member of both Roosevelt University’s Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), a 16-member panel which plans and coordinates Illinois' system of colleges and universities. The IBHE appointed her to a blue ribbon task force to review a proposal to boost student financial aid.
Dimitra explains that her interest in school policy began in high school when she was named to the Student Advisory Committee of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. As an IBHE board member, she was motivated by the ideal that without an educated society, “everything else is going to crumble.” To Dimitra, it’s important that other young adults have the access to higher education that she has had. One might say she sees herself as a catalyst for social change, similar to Roosevelt’s founders and many other Roosevelt students who have preceded her.
Some of the many projects Dimitra has worked on include the successful campaign to preserve the Illinois Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants for the spring 2010 semester. Under her leadership in fall 2009, students from colleges and universities all over the state rallied in Springfield, having a dramatic impact on policy makers. She also helped arrange a “Meet the Candidates” event through the Coalition of Chicago Colleges, in which students had the chance to hear from and ask questions of candidates for the November 2010 federal, state and local elections. Most recently, she helped organize a book drive to establish a library at Whittier Elementary School in Chicago.
When Roosevelt reinstated its athletics program, she worked to establish a cheer and dance squad to support the teams. As an undergraduate student, Dimitra found balance in her life through her membership in Alpha Gamma Delta Women’s Fraternity. Such chapter events as spa days, chocolate parties and personal training sessions gave her a chance to unwind and socialize.
Dimitra says Roosevelt's strong mission and friendly, knowledgeable staff inspired her to transfer to Roosevelt. She noted that, as a midsize University, Roosevelt provided greater opportunities to be involved and make an impact than what she observed at the large state schools she considered. “Every time I visit one of the large universities, I realize I am so happy to be here.”
In the classroom, Dimitra says that she was inspired by Professor Paul Green, Associate Professor Bethany Barratt and Assistant Professor Marjorie Jolles. “Dr. Green is really focused on Illinois and Chicago politics, while Dr. Barratt has a broad world view. Dr. Jolles analyzes policy and brings in many different perspectives to help us understand issues. All three of them are amazing.”
Dimitra has both short- and long-term career goals. She is now a graduate student at Roosevelt, pursuing an MA in Economics and working for Roosevelt as an Admissions Counselor. Of course Dimitra's schedule is busier than ever, and she doesn't have much time for the student activities anymore, but still maintains a close relationship with the IBHE.
As for the future, she is keeping her options open. Maybe she’ll help set up a school in another country, following Oprah Winfrey’s example in South Africa. Maybe she’ll work in higher education administration. Looking down the road, Dimitra thinks that being a university president would be a great job. Maybe even at Roosevelt.