Irma A. Ortiz received her B.A. in Latino and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2004. She has been working for Northeastern Illinois University and Chicago Public Schools partnership since 2002 and the United States Department of Education’s federally funded GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant that services middle and high school students and their families in Chicago. She then received her M.A. in School Counseling in 2001 from Concordia University, and in 2012 became an L.P.C. (Licensed Professional Counselor) in the state of Illinois. She is currently pursuing a second M.A. in Educational Leadership at Northeastern Illinois University.
Through her work with GEAR UP and in her educational training, she has developed various educational programs and initiatives, as well as developed curricula for student and adult learning in social/emotional topics such as self-esteem and high school transition as well as college and career readiness skills such as interview and resume writing. Ms. Ortiz has been serving students and their families for over ten years, and through her collaboration with various educational professionals, has been able to make a significant impact on high school and college enrollment rates in the schools and communities where she has worked.
In 2010, she began working for Educational Advantage, Inc. where she has helped to develop training programs and initiatives for various clients. Her most recent project was collaborating to develop a highly interactive and comprehensive Food Service Management training approved by WIA (Workforce Investment Act). This curriculum includes different forms of assessments and presentation styles for instruction as well as experiential and inquiry-based learning.