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Alumni Spotlight: Abby Bautista

“I made the impossible possible thanks to Arrupe. I’m the first female in my family to earn college and graduate degrees. Next up: my doctorate.”

Abby Bautista (AA ’17, BS ’19, MEd ‘21) was born and raised in Little Village by immigrant parents who came to the United States to provide a better future for their children. In Abby’s family, no woman had ever attended college, and several didn’t finish high school. Abby wanted that to change.

Watching her brother graduate high school and be the first in their family to attend college inspired Abby to dream of one day getting a degree of her own. But as a senior at Queen of Peace High School, Abby feared this dream wouldn’t become a reality given the price tag for college.

Then, one Thursday afternoon, her high school hosted a college representative to talk about a new school opening at Loyola University Chicago called Arrupe College.

At first, Abby was skeptical. When she heard Loyola, she thought to herself, “How will I be able to afford this school?” But Abby kept an open mind, and found herself intrigued by Arrupe’s two-year program where students would graduate with an associate’s degree and little to no debt.

That night, Abby told her parents about Arrupe and decided to give it a chance. She applied, interviewed, and was accepted to Arrupe. “With no hesitation,” Abby said, “I made my enrollment deposit to Arrupe. Not only did I realize it was going to help my parents financially, but I appreciated the Arrupe mission.”

During her two years at Arrupe, Abby blossomed and grew as a person. “When I began my Arrupe journey, I was super quiet and shy,” Abby recalls, “but I knew I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.” Abby did just that when she applied for a job in the Office of Admissions at Arrupe. Abby landed the job – helping her gain the confidence she wanted – and worked with Arrupe staff to recruit the next cohort of Arrupe students.

In fall 2016, Abby was halfway to her associate’s but knew she wanted her bachelor’s. She applied to continue her studies at Loyola and received a full scholarship. At Loyola, she majored in psychology and minored in criminal justice. In May 2019, Abby fulfilled her dream: “In four years, I did the impossible. I became the first woman in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree. On top of that, I graduated from Loyola with no debt!”

Abby was just getting started with her bachelor’s. She returned to Loyola in August 2019 to pursue her Master’s in Education with an emphasis on community counseling, which she completed in May 2021.

Abby is currently pursuing her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Adler University while working as a bilingual psychotherapist at a private practice in downtown Chicago. After completing her doctorate, she hopes to work in detention centers and prevent recidivism, particularly with juveniles and young adults. “I want to help give young people second chances” Abby shared, “and create programs that stop individuals from repeating their past actions.”

In her free time, Abby serves as a member of Arrupe’s newly formed Alumni Advisory Board, working to keep Arrupe’s growing alumni community engaged in giving back to current and future students.

Looking back on her journey, Abby shares “I honestly don’t think I would have made it this far in my education career if it wasn’t for Arrupe. It taught me the meaning of sacrifice and appreciation.” For Abby, “Arrupe is a place that helps students push themselves and see not just who they are but what they can become.”