Berenice Lorenzo knew at a young age she wanted to go to college.
She also knew she wanted to be the first in her family to earn a college degree.
As she worked her way through high school, though, she hit a roadblock. How could she pay for that degree? The cost just seemed too much.
That is, until she considered Gateway Technical College – which helped her dream to become a reality through the resources and support of the Gateway Promise program. Berenice is now well on her way to earning her Nursing degree and has become a student leader and face of the college to the community through her role as Kenosha Campus ambassador.
“It’s been amazing to represent the college to the community, to show others that they can also be successful. Through my story, I’m able to tell them how they can start and pay for their education at Gateway,” says Berenice.
“I am so thankful to Gateway for the education I’m receiving here, the experiences I have had and to be able to gain a degree debt-free. It’s something for which I will always be grateful.”
The Gateway Promise program opens the door to cutting-edge programs, classrooms and learning opportunities at Gateway and covers the gap between financial aid and Gateway’s tuition and fees so Promise students earn their degree tuition-free.
Berenice says Gateway worked hard to address the needs of its students during the pandemic, including providing hands-on training in labs and outdoor classrooms where it could.
“I love Gateway because I’m a tactile learner and they offer hands-on learning,” says Berenice. “That’s how I learn best. The college has been able to keep their labs open for students. I can come in for my classes, but also to practice my nursing skills.
“Even through a pandemic, Gateway’s done all it can to keep in-person clinics open. That’s very important to me, and I love the fact that they’ve done that where they can.”
Berenice has connected through the college in a number of ways outside of the classroom. She has been recognized as the Kenosha Campus ambassador, meaning she is the voice for students on the Kenosha Campus to the community and administration. She also helped start the Latinos Unidos club, is the treasurer for the college’s Student Nurses Association chapter, is active in student government and was the first recipient of the Gateway I Promise Award.
Becoming ambassador was another of Berenice’s college goals.
“I remember one day I was talking to Keydi Osorio, she was the Kenosha ambassador at the time … and I said to myself, ‘Someday I will be the Kenosha ambassador.’
“It’s so crazy that I was able to do that. It’s amazing to me that I was able to achieve that goal. I love talking about Gateway to the community and potential students.”
Berenice’s final thoughts on the college focus on the pandemic. She says students shouldn’t put their educational goals or dreams on hold. “I tell them Gateway is going to do what it can. I want people to know that their goals are achievable, don’t stop what you’re doing.”