Connect with your Student Ambassador and learn how to engage in University life at Concordia-Chicago.

Ambassadors play an important role in shaping the future of the University by helping in the Undergraduate Admissions Offices, giving campus tours, talking to new students on the phone and participating in visit days. 


Lydia Smith

Major: Secondary English Education - LTE
Hometown: Dyer, Indiana

Why is CUC your college choice?

I chose CUC because of the close-knit Christian community and the location near Chicago. I love the opportunities the city brings and I've grown so much because of our campus environment.

What's your advice to your 17-year-old self?

I would tell my 17-year-old self to trust. Trust God, trust your family, and trust yourself. I was led to CUC when I didn't expect it, and once I learned to trust I realized that coming to Concordia would be the best decision of my life.

What's your favorite thing about CUC?

My favorite thing about CUC is the opportunity for campus involvement. I'm able to be a part of so many different spiritual life groups and music ensembles, and attend all kinds of sporting events and campus activities. Concordia does a great job of encouraging students to get involved and offers tons of great options. I've made so many friends because of it.

Troy Pratley

Major: Secondary Education-History
Hometown: St. Joseph, Michigan

What’s your favorite thing about CUC? 

My favorite thing about CUC is how connected everyone is. There are so many people here to look out for you and have your best interest at heart. Every faculty member that walks on this campus wants you to graduate from CUC in 4 years and want to make your experience special. I quickly learned that Concordia is full of friendly love.

What’s your advice to your 17-year-old self? 

My advice to my 17 year-old self is not to worry much about the things you can’t control. It is okay not to know what you want to study, what club to join, or anything else you may be struggling to decide. Everything will play out over time just the way that it was supposed to. 

What is it like to play a sport at an NCAA Division III school? 

Playing a sport at CUC has been a very big part of my college experience. It has allowed me to continue to grow as an athlete, Christian, and young adult. Every coach at CUC is dedicated to the university and wants to see their athletes succeed in all facets of life. Football has also provided life-long relationships with teammates, coaches, and other faculty. I cannot imagine my college experience without football.

Natalie Gallardo

Major: Journalism
Hometown: Cicero, IL

Why is CUC your college choice?

The moment I stepped on campus for my senior visit, it felt as if I was a part of CUC, and I wasn't even enrolled. It was also a great choice financially, but even with that, the welcoming community on campus was the cherry on top. It helped me to make the decision that I am still happy and proud of today!

What’s your advice to your 17-year-old self?

Take life slow. Prepare for the future but don’t let the thought of it consume your every move. Whatever happens will happen, no matter how hard your work. What is meant for you will come, as long as you give it your all. Enjoy the present moments that you're living through, because once you get where you want to be, all those beautiful moments will become wonderful memories.

What is it like to play a sport at an NCAA Division III school?

It's an amazing experience because you are allowed so much more freedom to enjoy the sport, in a way that does not become over-stressing. You are surrounded by people who are just as passionate about the sport, which helps you grow, not only as an athlete, but also as an individual.

Miguel Cuevas, Jr.

Major: Sports Management
Hometown: Chicago, IL

What’s your favorite thing about CUC? 

It’s a small campus where my friends and I can feel safe. Being able to play college-level sports is also an awesome opportunity.

What is your favorite place on campus? 

My favorite place has to be the weight room. As an athlete, I am always working out. Whenever I have time off and have nothing to do, you will most likely find me there.

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to be a softball coach or personal trainer. I have always wanted to help young athletes strive for bigger, better goals. 

What is it like to play a sport at an NCAA Division III school? 

Playing with the best is an amazing experience. My talented teammates encourage me to do more, and that competition pushes us all to surpass our limits.

McKenna Stanley

Major:Director of Christian Education
Hometown: Hampshire, IL

What’s your favorite thing about CUC?

My favorite thing about CUC is the community aspect that this university brings you. Concordia University Chicago is a small university, but the connection does not stop there. Students, faculty, and the River Forest community are so genuine, respectful, and caring. Each connection made with someone new on campus is always an opportunity to bring a smile to my face. With Concordia being a smaller university, you can often be walking to class or the dining hall and see someone you know which is something so special.

Why is CUC your college choice?

CUC was my college choice for many reasons; the most personal to me being the devotion to religion on campus, as well as the small size and the ability to be "known" by other students and professors. I admire the daily chapel services and opportunities for fellowship at CUC. I also chose Concordia due to the personable student to professor ratio; I knew this would set me up for academic excellence in the classroom.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be a Director of Christian Education. Beyond this, I hope to have a leadership position on a Mission Trip coordinating team. Serving others and exploring new communities with Christ at the forefront, has always been a passion of mine.

What is your advice to your 17-year-old self?

I would tell my 17-year-old self to believe that all things are possible and live each day to the fullest. We have been blessed with the greatest gift to experience the many blessings on Earth, thus, I encourage others to explore their passions and chase their biggest dreams. "All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13

Angelica Rafacz

Major: Middle Grades Math and Literacy
Hometown: Oak Lawn, IL

What’s your favorite thing about CUC?

My favorite thing about CUC is definitely the people — everyone here is so friendly and inviting that it makes being on campus such a memorable experience! Not to mention, I have made friends who come from different parts of the world including Ecuador, Indonesia, and even Egypt; I’m always amazed from hearing their life experiences and all the new insights they have to share with me!

What is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place on campus would have to be the lounge area located on the third floor in the Christopher Center. Not only is it a great study place due to its quiet location/comfortable seating, but the view is also exceptional — it overlooks the Early Childhood Center with large, open windows that provide a lot of natural light and a great eye for spotting a child having a sugar rush on the playground!

Why is CUC your college choice?

CUC was my college choice for a number of different reasons. For starters, I instantly fell in love with the campus when I came for a visit in the fall — it was the perfect size and looked absolutely breathtaking with all the leaves changing colors! Then, I later discovered that it had a top-rated education program alongside a freezer full of Ben & Jerry ice creams so I was instantly sold!

What is your dream job?

My dream job consists of three of my favorite things: teaching, math, and kids! Ideally, I’d love to work at the middle school level and reach students who come from troubled backgrounds/homes!

Brianna Arias

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Chicago, IL

What's your favorite thing about CUC?
My favorite thing about CUC is the diversity. I came from a predominantly Hispanic high school, so being able to learn more about different cultures and backgrounds is so great to me.

What is your dream job?
My dream job is working as a counselor for teenagers in low income communities.

Why is CUC your college choice?
CUC was my college choice because of the affordability, diversity and the very welcoming feeling it gave on my student visit here as a senior. I knew it was the right fit for me.

Michelle Aguilar-Medina

Major: Biology / Communication and Spanish Minors
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

What's your favorite thing about CUC?

My favorite thing about CUC is the community. When I first arrived on campus, everyone was very welcoming. If I needed any help or guidance, I knew who to contact. I was very resourceful and had countless activities and programs that interested me that I had the opportunity to join.

What is your favorite place on campus?

Currently, my favorite place on campus is the top floor of the library. It offers me a large space where I can focus and get work done as well as attend any online classes. The environment is very calm which allows me to concentrate and everyone is friendly here.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become a pediatrician. I love being with children and helping in any way that I can. I love learning about the way our body works. Therefore, I have merged both interests into a profession and found that becoming a doctor for children was the path for me. I hope to work in the city of Chicago where I was raised.

Alexa Hoover

Major: Elementary Education - LTE with a middle grades literacy endorsement / theology minor
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

What is your favorite thing about CUC?
My favorite thing about CUC is performing as a member of the Wind Symphony. It's so special to belong to a legacy of students that have performed all across the world while spreading the Gospel through the gift of music. Wind Symphony is important to me, because not only I have met my lifelong best friends through this group, but also because of the focus the ensemble places on performing high quality sacred and traditional repertoire.

Why is CUC your college of choice?
I picked CUC for a combination of its reputable Lutheran teacher education program and campus community. I knew that I would be valued as an individual at Concordia and have the opportunity to get involved in multiple extracurricular activities ranging from intramural sports to bible studies that focus on helping me maintain my mental and physical health as well as my academic and spiritual growth.

What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place to be on campus is hammocking between two trees in the Triangle! I love spending time outside with my friends between classes catching up on homework or just hanging out!

Benjamin Simmons

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Major: Director of Christian education major /  Education, psychology and theology minors
Hometown: Westminster, Maryland

What's your favorite thing about CUC? As many students would say, my favorite part of CUC is the community. I have never met a more diverse, acceptable, energetic and passionate group of people than those who attend Concordia Chicago. Each person brings such a unique prospective on life and gets to join me on the journey of being a college student.

What is your dream job? I hope to one day serve in a church as a DCE that also has a school attached to it. I want to be teaching in the classroom and developing youth ministry and outreach programs. I would love to have an office with a big window, a coffee maker, and an open door that anyone can walk through if they just need to chat or need my help. In the end wherever God places me is exactly where I will need to be.

What's your advice to your 17 year-old self? The only thing that matters in searching for the right college is if the experience and degree will help you pursue your dreams and ambitions. Do not worry about who you are right now, the people at college will help shape you into the person you want to be. For now, hug the people around you, enjoy the big events, celebrate when you can, go outside, play with your dog, just do not take the little things for granted. Life is going to be challenging in college, but these moments are shaping you more than you will ever realize.

Damian Rojas

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Major: Middle grades education – math major
Hometown: Joliet, Illinois

What's your favorite thing about CUC?  My favorite thing about CUC is the people on campus, everyone is so positive and nice.

What is it like to play a sport at an NCAA Division III school? Playing a sport at an NCAA division III school is very competitive and is at a very high level as many other divisions across the nation. While being very competitive, it is such a good time and a good experience.

What is your favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus is South Gym because my teammates and I are always playing pickup games and hanging out like a big family. 

Aidan Vizi

Major: Physical Education
Hometown: Bethel, Connecticut

What's your favorite thing about CUC? It is a small university where I can play lacrosse and have time to do other activities, as well.

What's your advice to your 17-year-old self? My advice to my 17 year old self would be to enjoy the little things in life and look for a school where you can see your future.

Why is CUC your college choice? CUC was my college choice because of the small atmosphere. I have made so many lifelong friends.

Brian Krohmer

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Major: Director of Christian Education / Theology
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

What is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place on campus is definitely the Chapel of Our Lord. The chapel is the home of all of our worship opportunities on campus, as well as many other large community events such as ensemble performances. This is my favorite place on campus because I know that when I enter there, something great is about to happen. Whether it be a concert, daily chapel, or sitting silently by myself, I know I will be spiritually fed when I find myself in the Chapel of our Lord.

Why is CUC your college choice?

Concordia is my college of choice because I knew I wanted to be a good teacher. Throughout my schooling, from 7-12 Grades, I went to Lutheran school and it seemed like my best (and favorite) teachers always came from CUC. I wanted to be a Director of Christian Education, but more than anything, I wanted to be the best teacher I could be. I knew that by going to CUC, I would get the best education I could, and be the amazing teacher I saw in so many other CUC graduates.

What's your advice to your 17-year-old self?

The best advice that I would give to my 17 year-old self is that you know nothing. You don't know any plans you are going to have. You don't know what college you're going too. You don't know where God is taking you. So be flexible, and let the one who knows all guide you through every stage of life. Take every opportunity to mold yourself into the person he wants you to be.