Graduate Testimonial: Jennifer Carrillo Rojas

Below is a brief excerpt from Jenny Carrillo’s speech from the 9th annual Access Academies Scholarship Dinner.

“My name is Jenny Carrillo, I am 24 years old, I have my MBA, and work for a Fortune 500 company.

I attended St. Cecilia School & Academy from Kindergarten through eighth grade. After, I was encouraged by my family and graduate support director to attend Nerinx Hall. I was thankful for my time at Nerinx because they were incredibly supportive of me and my family. I remember Ms. DeLany signing me in late every morning because I had to drop off my five siblings before school. I also remember my college counselor pushing me to take the next step in my journey.
You see, sometimes as you go through life you find yourself at a crossroad and needing help. After my junior year, I was at my crossroad. My mother was ill and, as the oldest, my family depended on me. I couldn’t fathom going to college and leaving them with no support. However, my high school counselor kept encouraging me to apply- even going as far as to give me applications for nearby colleges and universities. I was accepted to all, but chose St. Louis University.

At St. Louis University I met Marie Kenyon, who I refer to my personal cheerleader. She has always been a source of encouragement and support, and helped the flame inside of me grow brighter than I thought possible. I worked for Marie in the Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry as a translator. During my senior year, I travelled to Panama for a cultural immersion program, thus completing the final academic requirement for my Bachelor’s Degree in International Business. As the daughter of immigrants, I was the first in my family to go to college.

After graduating I went to work for St. Francis Community Services on the south side providing financial interventions and education before going on to earn my Master’s in Business Administration from Fontbonne University. I remember my sisters asking me “How many more graduations are you going to have, Jenny?!” (Photo pops up on big screen) That made me feel very proud, and I am excited to say that I am not done yet.

Currently, I work for New York Life doing what I love, which is to help others, but also to learn. Every day, every new person, teaches me something new, gives me more tools. As I look to the future, I am excited because I know my future is limitless because I have my education and a community of supporters backing me up. Thank you.”