CUPPA Student Ambassadors
Meet Our 2023-24 Ambassadors
The Student Ambassador Program in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) is an opportunity for undergraduate students who are dedicated to serving and playing a special role in CUPPA. Student Ambassadors provide campus tours, serve as CUPPA representatives, and perform duties at various campus and community events. Student Ambassadors also perform duties within the Office of Academic Affairs over two-semesters with a commitment to a minimum of 40 hours of service.
Juan Rosendo Heading link
Major: Public Policy
Minor: Sustainable Cities
Hometown: Rogers Park, IL
High School: Chicago Math and Science Academy
A second year undergraduate student attending the University of Illinois at Chicago’s CUPPA and Honors College. I am currently studying Public Policy with a concentration in environmental policy, and I am exploring social Anthropology as a second degree. My passions are explorations, soccer, and video games. I love to explore nature
sites, such as local woods or mountains in Mexico. I am currently the esports coach for Chicago Math and Science Academy, where the team achieved a playoff position. My goals for the future involve participation in the environmental movement while fighting for equity and equality around the world.
CUPPA is a unique place that provides opportunities and guidance for those who seek to enhance the lives of the public. At first, CUPPA seems like a place where students take classes. However, it is a secondary home for those who seek to connect and make the world a better place. CUPPA ensures comfort to everyone and promotes the
pursuit of dreams without additional pressure. All in all, CUPPA holds a special place in my heart as it opened my eyes to endless possibilities of connections and opportunities.
Haniyyah Thomas Heading link
Major: Public Policy ‘
Minor: Nonprofit Management & Instructional Design and Teaching
Hometown: Orland Park, IL
High School: Marist High School
Life is funny because in the moment you don’t understand why things are happening– sometimes you’re sad or angry that they’re happening, but as time passes you begin to understand and the pieces come together. This sums up the formation of my passion for education. As a child, I moved a lot which meant I went to a few different schools, all in different neighborhoods. This exposed me to different qualities and philosophies of education and the effects thereof. This curiosity persists through my college years as I pursue field experience in education and youth mentoring in an effort to understand what it takes to facilitate a positive and effective learning environment.
Everyday I strive to fulfill my purpose one step at a time and I believe my purpose is enabling others to see the world in a different way. With that being said, aside from my pursuit of a career in education policy, I have a love for art. Painting is my escape from the stressors that can come with being a fulltime student; it allows me to communicate my feelings in a healthy way and diversify my impact on the world as more than just an academic.
Before even applying to UIC, I knew that I wanted to join CUPPA as a Public Policy major because during high school I grew a passion for civic engagement and giving a voice to the unheard. Although, I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to make a difference. Within just one year, I was steered toward my path by interning, campus involvement, and notably, the opportunities of discovery presented in my freshman year CUPPA seminars that connected me with staff and students and showed me different ways I could thrive in my field.
Honors College, President of the Black Student Coalition, Assistant Director of Administration of NRHH
Carter Neubauer Heading link
Major: Urban Studies
Hometown: Bolingbrook, IL
High School: Plainfield East High School
Hi everybody, my name is Carter Neubauer! I am a second year student and I am majoring in Urban Studies as a part of the CUPPA program here at UIC. I love sports and enjoy playing almost every one, although my favorites are baseball, basketball, and soccer. I also love listening to music, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. If you see me on campus don’t hesitate to say hi!
Cities have been something that has fascinated me all my life. I love looking at all the little things and seeing how they all come together to allow a city to function and of all the cities, Chicago is definitely my favorite. It is a dream of mine to be able to be able to live and work in this beautiful city that so many of us call home and I believe CUPPA can help me accomplish those goals. CUPPA really has a community feel to it and everyone here is so friendly and willing to help. The passion that all the students and staff have for what they do is unmatched and ultimately these factors are what made me chose CUPPA. And I couldn’t be happier with my decision!!
Margarita Arango Heading link
Major: Public Policy
Minors: Urban Studies, Sustainable Cities, and Nonprofit Management
Hometown: Rockford, IL
High School: Auburn High School
Hello! I was born in Forest Park, IL, but I’ve lived in Rockford since I was two. My first language was Spanish, and I am a dual citizen of the US and Mexico! I danced at Rockford Dance Company for 13 years, and while I was a dancer there, I was really involved in community service and outreach. I volunteered for local campaigns and did a lot of community service through my school and church; all of these things drew me to pursuing a degree in Public Policy. I really enjoy school and studying, but in my downtime, I love to cook, spend time with friends, dance, and explore the city!
As a high school student trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college, I was exploring online to find different majors that I hadn’t heard of before. Nothing stood out to me, and I felt lost, but then I found a sample schedule for UIC Public Policy majors. The classes sounded fascinating, and I was more excited to pursue higher education than I ever had been, so I knew I had found my path. After comparing CUPPA’s program to that of other universities, I realized that it was more focused on service and building communities than other programs. I always wanted to live in the city and the opportunities are so abundant here, so I knew CUPPA was perfect for me.
Honors College Ambassador, Vice President of Student Advocacy Coalition