Elisabet Miramontes

  • Reverse transfer Miramontes preaches education is power as college rep

       Miramontes Alumni 350_1                 Miramontes 2

    Morton College was just a temporary stop on Elisabet Miramontes’ educational journey, but it opened the door to bigger and better things like being the first member of her family to graduate from college.

    The Cicero resident was the first in her family of seven to leave home and go off to college when Miramontes enrolled at the University of Illinois following graduation from Morton East High School. A family situation brought Miramontes back home after her first year. She decided to transfer to Morton College in the Fall of 2010 before making her next move.

    “I picked Morton College because of the proximity,” said Miramontes in an e-mail interview. “It’s about seven minutes away from my home. I wanted to finish my gen eds (general education) and move forward to a four-year school.”

    Miramontes admitted it was difficult to make connections at Morton College since she was only staying a year. She did become a member in Phi Theta Kappa, the national honors society for community college students, and encountered memorable instructors like Tom Spoletti in philosophy, Emily Stortz in anthropology and Dennis Haffron in sociology.

    Morton College also opened the door for a scholarship to the University of St. Francis in Joliet, where Miramontes graduated summa cum laude in December of 2013 with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal and social justice. She also minored in Spanish.

    “This has been my greatest achievement thus far,” Miramontes said.

    Two months after graduation, St. Francis hired Miramontes as a transfer admissions representative. She’s hooked on social media with accounts on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to stay connected. She also does the old-fashioned campus visits and Morton College is one of the schools she regularly visits.

    “By the end of my college years, I knew I wanted to work in higher education,” Miramontes said. “Coming from a family of immigrants, this has only propelled and inspired me toward success. I hope to spread that throughout the student body.”

    St. Francis couldn’t ask for a better representative than Miramontes, who took part in a myriad of activities during her time as an undergraduate.

    Miramontes is very passionate about education and community outreach, especially in her efforts to assist undocumented and DREAM Act students. Her zeal only increased during her time at St. Francis as Miramontes was president of Unidos Vamos a Alcanzar (United We Will Achieve), the university’s Latino organization, and co-founder of H.O.U.S.E. (Helping Our Unprivileged Students Excel), a group established to serve underprivileged students on campus through creating a climate of inclusivity.

    She also was involved with Delta Epsilon Sigma, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy County’s Latino Advisory Board, the Student Alumni Mentoring Program and the University Success Scholars.

    Miramontes’ mantras are “Education is power” and “Si, se puede!” (Yes, we can), which is now a trademarked slogan created in 1972 by the United Farm Workers’ Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta during Chavez’s 24-day fast in Phoenix.

    Currently at St. Francis, Miramontes is the advisor for the university’s newly-created Latino Honor Society. She is on an Illinois Latino Council for Higher Education committee working toward creating a fellowship program for college students and higher education professionals.

    Miramontes still holds Morton East near and dear to her heart. She volunteers with the Morton East High School Parent-Teacher Organization and regularly attends Morton High School’s Board of Education meetings. She also is working toward creating an alumni mentorship program with Morton East.

    Miramontes’ involvement with Morton East’s PTO is two-fold. One aspect is as a professional educator, the other is a concerned older sister making the program serve her younger brother’s needs.

    “I’m also collaborating with the high school to establish an alumni mentorship program for the students,” Miramontes said. “I believe it’s one of the most effective ways of molding a person into a successful one.”

    Miramontes gladly shares her knowledge on the mechanisms of higher education, adding, “Working in higher education, I have the capacity to provide students with a lot more resources. I try to do this for anyone in high school or is pursuing higher education.

    “My involved with Morton East has always existed,” Miramontes continued. “I’ve always made it a point to go back, visit with the students and share my college experience. I’ve become very invested in Morton East because it’s something close to my heart.