A National Award-Winning Publication

Carlos Rivas


Empowering the next generation

Carlos Rivas

Age: 33

Title: Director of Public Affairs

Organization: The Civilian Office of Police Accountability

Carlos Rivas, born and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, is currently the director of public affairs with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Chicago’s police oversight agency.

In his job, Rivas works to build connections in communities across Chicago and to build trust through accountability. In 2022 Rivas hosted nearly 100 engagement events and forged new partnerships with community-based organizations to further COPA’s community engagement. Since August 2022, Rivas has served on a special mayoral detail to support recent migrant arrivals from the southern border. This included translating, greeting buses at union station, volunteering at a multi-agency resource center, opening temporary shelters, and providing assistance to new arrivals.

Previously, Rivas served as the alumni supports and external affairs manager at UIC College Prep. He joined the staff at UICCP in 2014 as a Spanish instructor and later became an alumni counselor, supporting many of the same students he had taught. Rivas is a licensed teacher. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in government and Spanish from Claremont McKenna College and holds two master’s degrees, one in teaching from Dominican University and another in higher education administration from Northeastern Illinois University.

As an educator he is most passionate about creating opportunities for students to have exposure to the outside world. In his eight years at UIC College Prep this meant many different things. He worked hard to provide extracurricular activities such as Code Nation, which provided sophomores through seniors with coding education and internships. He also worked with his assistant principal and founded the Noble Network’s first student mariachi band, spending countless hours searching for instructors, resources, and writing grants for materials.

Words of Wisdom: “Enjoy what your travels will offer, 

Savor each and every moment. 

Meet people from near and far, 

Make friends who will make you content.”

-Sandra Aguirre (Mentor & Friend of Carlos Rivas)

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