Student Profile

Emilio B. Odyssey Scholar

Emilio B. ’21

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Odyssey Scholar Spotlight

“I am now better equipped to understand how I function within my community, and therefore better engage in service to my community.”

How did you learn about UChicago? When did you first know that UChicago was the right college for you?
I first learned about the University of Chicago when my mom took me to campus to see her alma mater. As a kid I felt more drawn to the architecture that felt like something out of a fantasy book than the distinct academic environment of the University. I realized the significance of the latter when I attended the accepted student overnights at Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. My visit at UChicago made me feel more uniquely part of a community of people who want to learn, whereas other schools could not authentically provide that. My experience here has confirmed that, I’ve never felt that we are here to compete with each other, but rather to develop meaningful relationships that help us push the limits of what we can learn.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since arriving on campus?
Through the communities I have joined on campus, such as M.E.Ch.A. de UChicago, I have established relationships that have helped me critically analyze my identity. I feel this is the most important thing I’ve learned (outside of Foucault and Durkheim) as it has radically changed the way I relate to the world. I am now better equipped to understand how I function within my community, and therefore better engage in service to my community. I am infinitely grateful for the existing spaces on campus for students of color and I can’t wait to see how the University continues to develop and expand these spaces.

What has your UChicago experience been like outside of the classroom?
Though there exists a stereotype that this university is the graveyard of fun, I have discovered the most vibrant relationships I have had in my life here. The people on campus I have become friends with are some of the most unique and inspiring individuals I know (not to mention the most brilliant). The character of the people I consider friends is exceptional; I have been blessed to find friends that unconditionally care and support me. I feel like a more fully realized individual because of the support and tolerance I have experienced from friends on campus.

If you could speak directly to the person whose gift supported your scholarship, what would you say?
From a young age I understood that if I did not receive a full scholarship to any institution, my education would be a serious challenge. I spent ten years of my life homeless and my family still had limited resources by the time I was accepted to college. In addition to being an Odyssey scholar at the University of Chicago, I am also a Stamps scholar with the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation. The Odyssey Scholarship and the Stamps Scholarship together provide me with funding for all my college related expenses, meaning my family can rest assured that my hard work will not be in vain. These programs also provide me with a network of students, faculty, and programing that have helped me through my college experience. I can attest to the fact that these scholarships have not only been a gift to my education, but also my family’s mental health. Many low-income families are already so overwhelmed with getting food on the table and paying rent, so the gift of financial support to their child’s education is a blessing for everyone. Thank you.