Nicolas Robledo

University of Illinois at Chicago

Nicolas Robledo, a third-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a student leader active in expanding youth engagement on Chicago's Southeast Side and making higher education more accessible to people with conviction records. Over the past year, he has worked with other young leaders from his Southeast Side neighborhood to organize youth-led community discussions that provide a space for young people to discuss topics of neighborhood empowerment, culture, and identity. On campus, he serves as a student coordinator with YES APPLY ILLINOIS!, a coalition to lobby the university's administration to remove all questions on conviction histories from the school's undergraduate application, questions which disproportionately affect people of color. He is currently working with other young leaders on establishing a formal youth alliance on Chicago's Southeast Side to serve as a local platform for youth engagement and empowerment, and is continuing to serve as a student coordinator with YES APPLY ILLINOIS! and as an undergraduate student senator.

Dr. Michael Amiridis
Chancellor
University of Illinois at Chicago

Personal Statement

Growing up on Chicago's Southeast Side, the daunting scale of the problems my community faced, from deindustrialization to gun violence, often made residents, and particularly local youth, feel powerless. I first started organizing during my freshman year of college when I interned with Participatory Budgeting Chicago, an initiative that helps local residents vote on how to spend part of their local public budget. Here, I learned two valuable lessons: (1) providing neighbors with a shared space and platform for connecting with each other sows the seeds of organic, positive changes in a community; and (2) there are not nearly enough young people engaged in my community. This past summer, other young leaders in my neighborhood and I started organizing a youth alliance focused on providing such a shared space among local youth. We are currently hosting youth-led workshops at local high schools and venues to discuss culture, identity, and community empowerment. On campus, taking lessons from organizing in my neighborhood, I have been active in YES APPLY ILLINOIS!, a student-led coalition focused on removing the invasive questions on conviction records from our university's undergraduate application and thus expanding access to higher education.

Nicolas Robledo
Finance: Class of 2020
written 2019

2019 Fellows Alphabetical by Institution

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Sarah Lutes, UNC Asheville Seda Sahin, Univeristy of Connecticut Bernardo Villarreal Rodríguez, Universidad de Monterrey Elizabeth Paige, University of Baltimore Itzel Velazquez, University of Central Arkansas Jordan Borenstein, University of Central Florida Hunter Caudillo, University of Central Oklahoma Delali Nenonene, University of Dayton April Singleton, University of Delaware Amanda Wittebort, University of Denver Mikaela Lopez, University of Houston-Downtown Nicolas Robledo, University of Illinois at Chicago Natalie Benson, University of Indianapolis Jocelyn Roof, University of Iowa Kaitlyn Frick, University of Kentucky Dyamond Gray, University of La Verne Sarah Nichols, University of Maine at Augusta Maheen Haq, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Madison LaCure, University of Massachusetts - Boston Marvens Pierre, University of Massachusetts Amherst Elizabeth Anusauskas, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Twisha Mohapatra, University of Massachusetts Lowell Shravya Jasti, University of Miami Jalen Rose, University of Michigan-Dearborn Robert Harper, University of Minnesota Danielle Friz, University of Missouri - St. Louis Daisy Ward, University of Montana Adrianna Pittman, University of Montana Western Lizbeth Perez Hernandez, University of Nebraska Omaha Kaitlin Griffin, University of New Hampshire Joyce Yao, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Yesika Sorto Andino, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Adriana Zarate, University of North Georgia Hector Robledo, University of North Texas at Dallas Malaika Michel-Fuller, University of Northern Colorado Sashay Carroll, University of Northern Iowa Carson Ball, University of Oklahoma Carter Gale, University of Pennsylvania John Farris, University of Redlands Mary-Kate McGeary, University of Rhode Island Lina Tori Jan, University of Richmond Nina Schneider, University of San DIego Nyteia Tyler, University of San Francisco Karen Padilla, University of South Carolina Beaufort Danica Leaphart, University of South Carolina, Columbia Andrew Spencer, University of St. Thomas Shaneika Bowra, University of the District of Columbia Livia Karoui, University of the South Jordyn Gaurkee, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay Emiliana Lopez, University of Wisconsin - Madison Zach Atkins, University of Wisconsin - Parkside Madison Hale, University of Wisconsin-Superior
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