Mayor Lightfoot, CTA and CPS Announce “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund” Student Winners for 2022-2023

June 9, 2022

CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization scholarship program, created in collaboration with RPM contractor Walsh-Fluor, helps Chicago youth pursue degrees in STEM fields

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., CPS CEO Pedro Martinez and Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team announced today that two Chicago Public School seniors have been awarded scholarships from the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,” a program that provides financial assistance to CPS students who want to pursue construction and engineering-related college educations.

This scholarship program, created by CTA and Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, provides $5,500 each year for four years to economically disadvantaged students who plan to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) for engineering and construction-related degrees. The scholarship was launched in 2020 as part of the historic $2.1 billion RPM project.

This first-of-its-kind CTA initiative provides scholarships, mentoring support and career guidance for under-resourced college students. The scholarship program is administered by Chicago Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to college access, college success and leadership development for first-generation and low-income students in Chicago.

This year’s winners will join six other CPS students who won the scholarship in past years and are now pursuing degrees in the construction and engineering fields. Project contractor Walsh-Fluor is sponsoring the scholarships. Scholarship recipients also can apply for paid internships on the RPM project.

"Investing in our youth is a critical step to strengthening our communities," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "I congratulate our scholarship recipients who represent the best of our city and will shape our bright future. Our entire city is proud of them and their accomplishments."

“The ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,' reflects our city’s commitment to our future leaders,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said. “We will continue to seek innovative partnerships that increase the number of opportunities for Chicago youth.”

“We strongly believe that all CTA projects are opportunities to lift up our communities and invest in our neighbors,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Students pursuing careers in transportation, construction and engineering are important for our city and our industry, and we applaud these individuals for taking this important step toward their futures.”

“Since its inception, the ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund’ has helped shape the future of many Chicago Scholars interested in pursuing higher education or careers in the ever-evolving fields of transportation, construction and engineering. We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of the City of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools and Walsh-Fluor,” said Jeffery Beckham Jr., CEO of Chicago Scholars. “Working alongside community leaders with the common goal of supporting our Chicago Scholars is a great honor and allows us to continue carrying out our mission.”

“What makes this program unique is the ongoing support each of our scholars receives,” said Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team Project Executive Dave Shier. “We are truly invested in their success.”

“The Elevating Futures Scholarship has really helped me by supporting me financially and enabling me to further pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration & management at Loyola University Chicago,” said Axel Hernandez, a current Elevating Futures Scholarship recipient.

The 2022 CTA Elevating Futures Scholars are:

Patrick Muyenzi, 19, Rogers Park

RPM Scholarship winner Patrick MuyenziPatrick is graduating at the top of his class at Sullivan High School, where he has taken many honors classes and received recognition for his outstanding academic performance. A student-athlete, Patrick has been an active member of the school’s soccer and volleyball teams, and he enjoys discovering the city through his involvement with the West Town Bike Program. Patrick is also engaged in his local community, having served as an intern at his alderwoman’s office, consistently sharing his professionalism and intelligence when assisting constituents. Teachers and supervisors commend Patrick’s curiosity, thoughtfulness, drive, and leadership skills.

Patrick plans to become an engineer, believing science can address almost any problem in the world. When he was younger, Patrick and his family lived in a refugee camp in Uganda after fleeing Congo for a better life. It was in the refugee camp where he taught himself how to construct a “do-it-yourself” flashlight, due to the lack of electricity there. This inspired him to pursue a degree in electrical engineering to learn how to build sustainable energy solutions. Patrick will be entering the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.

Freddy Romero, 18, Austin

RPM Scholarship winner Freddy RomeroFreddy Romero attends Austin College and Career Academy, where he is valedictorian of his class. A well-rounded and hardworking student, he has excelled academically and received the Austin Math, Music and Art Awards. Outside of school, he has participated in various STEM-related activities, such as Project Exploration, the EXIGENT Pre-Calculus program, After School Matters’ Woods and Walls program, Code Next and Youth Chicago Apprentice, where he currently works in repairing technology used in CPS. 

Freddy’s goal is to become a mechanical engineer so he can improve technology and machinery that can assist those with disabilities. He also hopes to improve his community in the future by creating a “Re-Start” enrichment program that would enable young people to discover their paths. Freddy is held in high esteem by his teachers, who commend his character, focus, and determination. Freddy will be enrolling in the pre-engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he plans to major in mechanical engineering or computer science.

For more information about this program, visit CTA’s web site at https://www.transitchicago.com/rpm/workforce-opportunities/  or Chicago Scholars’ web site at chicagoscholars.org/elevatingfutures.

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