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FINAL: Gladys Sanchez will be graduating in May with a major in community leadership and civic engagement with an emphasis in global studies. “In the year that I have worked with Gladys Sanchez, she has blown me away with her exceptional ability … to take on numerous endeavors simultaneously and excel at them all,” shares classmate Amy Stratton. Now a single mother, Gladys has had to overcome obstacles such as a house fire and homelessness, in addition to finding funding to pay for her education. Yet, despite these hurdles, Gladys’ determination to excel is evidenced through her scholarships, campus and community involvement, and three part-time jobs. For example, she is a member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, NIU College Parents Group, has sat on the board of directors for local non-profit organizations and is an active member of her church. Gladys is currently a marketing intern with the DeKalb County Community Gardens. With the goal of becoming an executive director for a non-profit organization, Gladys plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration. “There are things I really want to change, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be truly myself,” Sanchez said. She wants to someday be a city manager, so that she could “speak to the people and create something that’s socially responsible.” Sanchez said that she considers the library “one of the most dangerous places on earth. Because knowledge is power.” Sanchez is a recipient of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women Outstanding Women Student award.