Carolyn Wiley, Sharia Griffin, Kayla Linsner

Roosevelt University students filled Ida B. Wells Lounge to celebrate campus leaders in an extraordinary year.

Many of the students recognized by the Office of Engagement, Equity and Inclusion are the first in their families to attend college. The ceremony honored Lakers who blazed their own trails to college and now support social justice causes.

Students received scholarships and certificates for their outstanding engagement.

Diosmery Roque and Troy Gaston

Eleanor Roosevelt Social Justice Award

Named for the former University advisory board chair, this award recognizes social justice champions who advocate for underrepresented groups.

Sociology major Diosmery Roque is the president of campus organization Planned Parenthood Gen Action. Last summer, she interned at the Trickster Cultural Center as Mansfield Fellow for Activism and Community Engagement. The Schaumburg nonprofit features speakers and contemporary Native American art.

Troy Gaston joined dozens of protests during the social justice movement of 2020. As a political science major and McNair Scholar, he researches the wide-reaching effects of the carceral system. Troy brings a transformative perspective to his studies and activism.


Make a Difference Award

This award honors students who have demonstrated their passion for serving others.

Raneen El-Barbarawi is an international studies and journalism major, graduating with honors in 2022. She is the editor-in-chief of the Torch, the campus newspaper, and a Golin Fellow. After graduation, she plans to become a lawyer and continue on her path as a writer and journalist.

Jose Morales is the president of the student programming board and an orientation leader. The criminal justice major found his community through SSS STEM and campus organization Association of Latin American Students.

Roosevelt math and actuarial science club members

Student Organization of the Year

The Math and Actuarial Science Club won for its outstanding recruitment and campus events. The organization embraces the excitement of mathematics and explores applied careers in the field. Members raised funds for charity by pieing their professors on Pi Day, and hosted the annual Math X-Position.

Carolyn Wiley, Sharia Griffin, Kayla Linsner

Student Leader of the Year

One of the highest honors given to Roosevelt students, the award recognizes leaders who have made a significant impact on the University community.

Shania Griffin is the president of the Roosevelt University SHRM Chapter, part of the national human resources professional organization.

Caroline Frogozo is a peer tutor and a master’s student in clinical psychology. With a passion for working closely with people of color and marginalized populations as a whole, Caroline hopes to end the stigma against mental illness and the communities it affects most.

Ashanti McCall Rising Star Award

The award honors emerging Roosevelt leaders who have shown tremendous growth over the past year. It is named for late student Ashanti McCall, who was president of the Black Student Union and winner of a University social justice award.

As a finance honors student, Jose Terrazas joined a rigorous two-year boot camp that trains high-achieving students for careers in the industry. He also played soccer for the Lakers, helping the team earn a berth in the national championship tournament.

Lizbeth Tlatenchi is also a finance honors student. Lizbeth belongs to the Math and Actuarial Science Club and the Association of Latin American students.

Guazzini Leadership Award

The new award recognizes an outstanding junior with a $1,000 scholarship.

Laia Borrell is the treasurer of the Student Government Association and a member of the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee. Through the Center for Arts Leadership, Laia led a project for faculty and mentors to offer free music lessons to children in foster care. She reached out to more than 15 organizations to find funding and instruments that would change lives through music.

During the pandemic, Laia worked three jobs and endured visa challenges and separation from her family. She found the opportunity to lean in and belong to the Roosevelt community.

Guazzini First-Year Student Engagement Award

The award honors Lakers who go above and beyond to get involved in the Roosevelt community. Winners receive a $200 scholarship.

  • Michael Smith is a Lakers football player who is highly involved on campus. The hard-working student-athlete is a New Era Scholar and a member of the new Black and Latino Male Mentoring program.
  • Spencer Simpson joined the Math and Actuarial Science Club as a business student because he wanted a deeper understanding of what both fields offer. He now serves as the group’s secretary. Spencer also organizes workshops for Roosevelt’s Investment Club.
  • Raul Villareal studies middle school and bilingual education at Roosevelt. He is focused and passionate about education, and he’s enthusiastic about making a positive impact on his community.
  • Leslie Espinoza brings her bright energy, “can-do” attitude and desire to make a difference to campus. She is a program assistant for the Office of Engagement, Equity and Inclusion, a member of RU Green, and a member of Student Support Services STEM. Leslie works as a medical assistant, gaining real-world experience as she earns her degree in radiation therapy technology.
  • Maryanne Boaz is a program assistant at the Center for Arts Leadership. She recently helped plan the biannual Center on Halsted concert, one of the Center’s community engagement performances.

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