Eric Loera, The Making of Public Servant

Eric Loera
Eric Loera, UIS Political Science Major

Fulfilling a Long Tradition at UIS

From the earliest days of Sangamon State to now, 49 years later, the University of Illinois Springfield has taken pride in preparing public servants for the State of Illinois and around the world.

Eric Loera is one of those students.

Eric is a first-generation sophomore at UIS, majoring in political science. He came to UIS with a passion for serving his community, and as a freshman, he joined Leadership for Life, a living-learning program for students planning a lifelong commitment to community service. Last year, he was also secretary for the UIS Alternative Spring Break, which arranges week-long service experiences for UIS students each year. In 2018, the Alternative Spring Break program took students to Houston, where they helped with hurricane relief.

Alternative Spring Break
Eric and other UIS students in Houston for the 2018 Alternative Spring Break

“The trip to Houston was the first service project I had been on,” he says, “and it was so fulfilling to be hope to the families down there who had lost so much.”

After his freshman year, Eric returned to his home in Streamwood, Illinois, and was selected to serve on the Hanover Township Committee on Youth, with a purpose of promoting well being among Township youth and families through education, outreach and community connections.

“As Vice Chair of the committee,” he says, “I was introduced to the inner workings of local government, strategic planning, and the services a local government provides.”

Easter Craft Night
Eric organized an Easter Craft Night that donated 40 Easter baskets to children at St. John’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield.

Eric came back for his second year at UIS committed to a career in local government. He is still involved with Leadership for Life as the Public Health Committee Chair, as well as serving as mentor to students in the Capital Scholars Honors Program and a representative on the Campus Senate at UIS.

“I am majoring in Political Science so that I can learn how to be a public servant,” he says. “Once I graduate from UIS, I will look for a position in local government where I’ll be able to provide services to youth and families of low income and find ways to develop their communities.”

As a public servant, Eric will be choosing civic over financial rewards. Because of that he is especially grateful this year for the Marilyn Schnirring Kennedy Scholarship which has helped him continue his education.

“By worrying less about my financial security,” Eric says, “I can invest more in leadership experiences and devote myself to being a voice for others. I am so grateful for Ms. Kennedy’s generosity.”

Scholarships are a priority for Reaching Stellar: The Campaign for the University of Illinois because with scholarship gifts you affirm the aspirations of students like Eric. By creating a scholarship, you help community-minded students like Eric enter public service with a great education and wonderful skills, but without a heavy burden of student debt.

Eric (second from left) at a UIS Student Government Association Meeting. He is SGA secretary this year.

This year, Eric continues his service at UIS as secretary for the Student Government Association, a mentor for Cap Scholars and a member of the Student Advocacy Coalition.

“UIS has made me continue to grow a passion for leadership and service. There are so many ways at UIS to be involved in the community.”

Scholarships at UIS

A gift of only $84/month for 12 months will create a one-year named scholarship at UIS. A larger gift will create an endowed scholarship fund that will generate gifts every year. (More information here).

Donors can also support scholarships by making a gift of any size to the UIS Scholarship Fund. Gifts add up in this fund to create scholarships at UIS.

Scholarships: A Reaching Stellar priority because they affirm the aspirations of outstanding students like Eric Loera.