Meet this year's LUCES Scholars: (From left to right: Crystal Toran, Michelle Lozano, Rachel Patterson, Paulette Saldana. This photo was taken immediately following our LUCES 2013 Gala). To get to know the LUCES Scholars, scroll beyond the picture to read their biographies!
To all the ladies in the place with style and grace-- my name is Michelle Lozano and I am a proud LUCES Scholar. Currently a Junior, I am a Psychology major with minors in Urban Studies and Women Studies & Gender Studies. Soy Colombiana y Mexicana from Joliet, IL, and proud with every ounce that I am. I am in a very good place in my life, meaning I feel very blessed to be succeeding in academics, and having the support, kindness and love from those around me. I am inspired everyday to make my community and OUR community as women of color better, stronger and empowered. I am at peace and am only going up so you can catch me in the sky!
I'm Rachel Patterson, a senior, majoring in Political Science with minors in Bioethics and Studio Art. In addition to being a LUCES scholar, I am an interfaith advocate this year. I have just returned from a two-month homestay in Guatemala, working on a construction team. My passions include, but are not limited to, social justice, interfaith initiatives, health, as well as creative learning and creative expression. I hope my passions will be conveyed in my vision for LUCES this year. I transferred to Loyola after my freshman year from New York University and it was at the LUCES retreat that I knew I made the right decision. I am a foodie, a lover of elephants and tiger lilies, an athlete for life, and an artist. These many qualities make me who I am and LUCES has supported my individuality unconditionally. I appreciate when women embrace their unique inner beauty and learn how to express these qualities outwardly. Socrates said, “It is a shame for a [woman] to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which [her] body is capable.” I can’t wait to see what the women of color at Loyola are capable of when we, collectively and individually, nourish our minds, our bodies and our souls.
Think with intelligence, act with responsibility, communicate with the truth, and believe in your faith and most importantly yourself. With education as her most powerful weapon, she is a fighter who refuses to go down without a fight and believes that success isn’t a straight line but rather various attempts of trial and error. I am a first generation student at Loyola, majoring in Biology with a minor in Bioethics following the Pre-Med track. This year I am a second year Resident Assistant in San Francisco Hall, part of AMSA’s, American Medical Student Association group on campus and a LUCES scholar. When I’m not involved or participating on campus, I love being outside and staying active. I am a strong advocate for justice, without justice as a keen factor in society, autonomy is hindered and equality and fairness cannot exist. One of the main reasons I am excited to be a part of LUCES is to promote and empower other women of color around me, to learn from each other’s experiences and most importantly to provide a space where we can be validated and inspired. LUCES has allowed me to grow as a woman but most importantly accepting my identity as a woman of color. I believe that being a part of LUCES can offer the same opportunity to other women of color.
You don’t know a person until you can understand their story, so allow me to introduce myself. I am a Junior, here at Loyola. I am a Forensic Science major - which adds a Chemistry minor to my resume due to all the classes I take – as well as a Criminal Justice minor. I am Vice President of our Black Cultural Center, a 2013-2014 LUCES Scholar, a site-coordinator at Cornerstone Community Outreach through Chicago HOPES for kids, and a McGaw YMCA Employee. My once two parent household is now a single parent home due to the loss of my father in 2009. I am a very outspoken and strong minded 20 year old young lady that does not accept the answer “no” easily. Every day that I have the privilege to live, I strive to be better and do more than I did the day before. I love children and after continuing education to get my masters and PhD in Criminology/Criminal Justice, I plan to be a Juvenile Probation officer and then one day later on teach Criminal Justice at a university. I don’t live my life by a series of quotes, songs or books; I just set goals, pray on it and then act, all while hoping that everything will work out for the best. I am proud and honored to be a LUCES Scholar simply because I know that now I have the opportunity to give unto others exactly what was given to me. LUCES is a program for growth, admiration and self-realization. Without the introduction of LUCES my freshman year at Loyola, I might have left due to the inner struggle I was facing trying to minimize who I was to fit the mold and standard that I felt people were placing me in at Loyola. LUCES is a life changing experience that I feel everyone woman of color should get the chance to experience. I just pray that I can affect someone else’s life this year with my position, knowledge and experience, in a similar fashion that people in the past have changed mines. I am Crystal J Toran.