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Service to community drives ECC alumna Eliana Penafiel

Eliana Penafiel

Eliana Penafiel

Eliana Penafiel was a busy bee during her time at Elgin Community College. In addition to her studies, she juggled being a single mother of two, serving as vice president of the college's Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society chapter, being an honor student, and helping with the college's Spartan Food Pantry.

She's proud of her work at PTK, especially leading the College Project-a collaborative effort between the student organization and the administration. This year's project was the Spartan Connection mentoring program and Penafiel helped create a marketing campaign that not only included fun activities, but also learning experiences.

“At the end, I feel that my job was to bring together a group of students and lead them to academic and personal success,” she said.

Penafiel said ECC proved to be the perfect match for her and her children moving to Elgin from Chicago in 2014. She previously attended Chicago's Truman College.

“This school has so many resources,” she said. “The classes are small and convenient; you get to know everyone.”

ECC allowed her to be a leader-a role she enjoys.

“My role as vice president and honor student was a unique experience that not only benefited me, but also those lives that my actions impacted,” Penafiel said. “It was an experience to feed my soul and my mind that at end became an opportunity to see that a gesture of kindness can change someone's life.”

Penafiel graduated from ECC in May 2016 and plans to transfer to a four-year university to major in accounting. She wants to dedicate time to give back to the community when she is done with her studies.

“It's given me so much,” she said. “I want to give the community what the community has given to me.” 

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