We are called
Description of image here.
Student Excellence Maximizing Resources

A determined Arrupe student takes flight

First-generation college student capitalizes on resources and opportunity

IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING MANY COLLEGE STUDENTS MIGHT SAY, Lady Carrillo, who graduated from Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago last August, has proven she’s willing to put in the work. When IES Abroad, a nonprofit study-abroad organization, announced it would be partnering with the two-year college—she left nothing up to chance.  

“This year, Arrupe was able to send 10 people to Spain for the sophomore seminar. I made sure to get help,” she said about applying. “Every single one of my professors read my essay. I was like, I am going to get this. And thankfully, my hard work paid off.” 

That support from faculty is something that drew Carrillo to Arrupe. As someone who once questioned the point of finishing high school, Carrillo changed her outlook when an English teacher pulled her aside junior year. 

“My mentor, he was the one who said I have so much potential and he wanted to guide me through,” she said. “Once I started getting his help, I did super well in my classes, and he said, ‘You know, Arrupe has the same sort of mentoring program as what we do. So I think it would be a great fit for you.’

Finding her path

Once on campus, this first-generation college student took advantage of every opportunity available. Carrillo followed her love of numbers and became a Math Fellow, where she tutored her classmates—and then, on the suggestion of her accounting professor, she applied for an internship at Grant Thornton, an accounting and consulting company. (She asked her professors to look over her application essay this time, too.)  

This Arrupe-Grant Thornton apprenticeship program is a formal partnership: At the start of every school year, three Arrupe students interested in pursuing accounting rotate through its different business lines, audit, tax, and advisory. 

“It helps you work on your problem-solving skills and your communication skills, but you can learn how to explain financial statements to different clients in a way that they understand, not just in a way accountants understand,” she said. “I love being able to do that, and I would like to grow more in my communication skills.” 

Each rotation lasts a few months, and each student is assigned a coach to be that go-to person for any questions or help. The partnership allows students who decide to transfer to Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business or another local school to keep the internship.


Our students have a lot of drive and determination and skills. Having an opportunity like this where they can showcase their strengths and learn what that professional culture is like prepares them for their future career, whether they hope to stay at Grant Thornton or pursue other paths.

— Leah Brunk, assistant director for employer relations and recruiting at Arrupe College


Brunk is the first person at Arrupe dedicated full-time to working with local employers on building a more formal structure to grow more regular opportunities. In addition to helping current students, she works with Arrupe graduates, including those who are wrapping up their bachelors and those who decide to enter the workforce instead of pursuing a four-year degree.  

Brunk works with students who decide to enter the workforce instead of pursuing a four-year degree and with Arrupe alumni wrapping up their bachelors.  

“A lot of our students come into Arrupe with some work experience, but a lot of them in high school maybe worked in retail, hospitality, or food service, those types of entry-level jobs which are pretty typical,” Brunk said. “Our goal while they’re here is to help them obtain more professional experiences in corporate settings. This program provides that to our students, and we’re hoping to create more partnerships in other industries as well.”

Taking flight

Within weeks of graduating Arrupe, Carrillo will be heading to Loyola University Maryland on a full scholarship. She’s hoping she won’t have to give up her internship at Grant Thornton, either. Once she’s settled, her recruiters suggested she reach out about getting transferred to their Baltimore office.  

While she’s excited for the chance to keep her internship going, what sealed the deal for her was another thing Loyola Maryland offered: the ability to study abroad over the summer. She’s already scoping her travel options, torn between studying art in Ireland or studying a language in someplace like Italy. Naturally, she’s also thinking of a majoring in something that will keep her traveling after graduation. 

“I’m taking a lot of ‘Intro to’ classes. I’m thinking about international business, marketing, or management, one of those,” she said. “In the spring I’ll officially decide.”

87%

OF ARRUPE GRADUATES TRANSFER TO FOUR-YEAR INSTITUTIONS.

0%

COLLEGE LOAN DEBT BURDEN FOR 75% OF ARRUPE STUDENTS. 25% HAVE AN AVERAGE DEBT OF ONLY $1,400.

97%

OF ARRUPE STUDENTS IDENTIFY AS PEOPLE OF COLOR.

13%

OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS EARN AN ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE IN TWO YEARS. ARRUPE STUDENTS GRADUATE AT 3X-4X THIS RATE.