Alumni Adrian Flores and Baylee Allen-Flores in their wedding attire

The Roosevelt community strives to ensure the success of its students, both inside and outside of the classroom. The connections made at the university can last a lifetime. Adrian Flores and Baylee Allen-Flores are a unique pair of Roosevelt University alumni. They met as undergraduates in the McNair Scholars Program, encouraged each other throughout graduate school and eventually got married. Today, Adrian has his PhD while Baylee finishes hers. According to them both, they found support systems at Roosevelt that secured their professional and personal triumphs. Here’s how the Roosevelt community helped these two scholars accomplish their academic dreams.  

Adrian is a Chicago native who entered Roosevelt as a psychology major, unsure of what career he wanted to pursue. The choice to attend Roosevelt was informed by his uncle, an alumnus with a teaching degree. According to Adrian, his uncle recommended the University because of the professors, the class sizes and the welcoming nature of the Roosevelt community. Adrian also noted that his uncle had met his wife at Roosevelt, which was an attribute that Adrian would soon share with his uncle.

While at the university, Adrian was part of the honors mentor program, where he was introduced to faculty and staff he continues to have relationships with today. Some of these professors who would become mentors at Roosevelt and beyond. These professors include Dr. Oluseye Onajole, Dr. Norbert Cordeiro, and Dr. Kelsey Poulson-Ellstad, who Adrian  He was later mentored by a practicing psychiatrist who encouraged Adrian to apply to graduate school. This led to his introduction to the McNair Scholars Program. Adrian said, “Growing up, I didn’t know anybody in biomedical sciences. You’re either a doctor or a lawyer. No one ever talks about a PhD as a viable career path. So, McNair put that idea in my head.” The McNair Scholars Program introduced the idea to Adrian, but it was a fellow McNair scholar that encouraged him to follow that path. That classmate was Baylee Allen, now Baylee Allen-Flores.

Baylee is originally from Vancouver, Washington. Her high school offered a program called “Running Start,” which enabled high school students to complete their last two years at the local community college and graduate with their associate degree. Because of this program, Baylee wanted to attend an out-of-state university that would accept her transfer credits, and Roosevelt was happy to accommodate. While at Roosevelt, Baylee earned her bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology. Some of the professors that impacted Baylee’s experience were Dr. Eli Ricks, Dr. Jill Coleman, and Dr. Marjorie Jolles. Each other these professors guided Baylee along her journey through the honors program, through McNair and helped her find a graduate program. After graduation, Baylee worked at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for three years before obtaining her master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Today, she is finishing her PhD in criminology and criminal justice. 

Both Adrian and Baylee are incredibly grateful to the McNair Scholars Program. This program helps encourage and prepare undergraduates students for the rigors of grad school. The emphasis on mentorship and cohort structure are integral to the program. Adrian said, “McNair had summer classes where we go and talk to each other and support each other through that experience.” This program also allowed them to present research at an academic conference for the first time, which took place in Buffalo, New York. This conference is also where Adrian mustered up the courage to ask Baylee out on a date. According to Adrian, their friend and cohort member, Cody Rounds, encouraged him to do it. Today, they are each pursuing research-based careers. Adrian works at a major university hospital in Omaha in the trauma department and has been appointed an Assistant Professor of Surgery. Baylee is on track to finish her PhD in May of 2025. Both Adrian and Baylee would like to thank Mike Maly for his guidance throughout their time in the McNair Scholars Program. Most recently, Adrian returned to Roosevelt to share his journey with new students at Admitted Student Day. He hopes his story will encourage others to pursue their dreams of changing the world. Baylee wanted to share her personal life motto with any prospective Roosevelt students: the world is run by those who show up. Thanks to their determination and the efforts of their professors, mentors, and counselors, Adrian Flores and Baylee Allen-Flores are two examples of people who are showing up. 

Related News ...

McNair Scholars students at Roosevelt University
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that $52 million was allocated to nearly 200 high education institutions through the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program. The Office of the Provost is delighted to publicize that Roosevelt University (RU) was among those schools, receiving another five years of funding to support RU students.
McNair Scholar Paige Pannozzo stands in front of her research poster

As a first-generation science student, Victoria Lopez said that she “always used to question whether she could reach her goal of attending graduate school.”

Political science student Jose Almanza (right) presenting his research as a McNair Scholar.

After serving in the Marine Corps, Jose Almanza Jr. (BA Political Science, ’19) came home to Chicago and moved into an apartment not far from his family in Little Village.