A National Award-Winning Publication

Guiding Youth Pathways

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Irma Amparo Ortiz


Title: Director- Title V Individual Development

Name of Organization: Northeastern Illinois University



Irma Amparo Ortiz has dedicated her professional career to serving youth in high school and college.


Irma Amparo Ortiz was born and raised in Chicago and began serving youth as a student employee at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in 2002 through a federally funded grant program, GEAR UP, that focuses on college access for Chicago Public School students. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), she began to work full-time as a NEIU GEAR UP Student Services Coordinator at Foreman High School.

She eventually led GEAR UP teams at Clemente, Roosevelt and Amundsen high schools and partnered with school-based administrators and counselors to increase college enrollment at several neighborhood Chicago high schools. She was promoted to lead the inaugural GEAR UP College Transition team in 2018, supporting more than 5,000 Latinx and African-American students, many of whom were first-generation, first-year students.

Ortiz is the director of NEIU’s Title V Individual Development grant—managing a $2.6 million budget—intended to increase retention at the university. She collaborates with faculty and staff across campus to develop programming and provide insight to the university’s student success and retention team.

Additionally, Oritz serves as the national president for Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc., a Latina-oriented sisterhood, founded in 1991. She has served since 2016, leading the board of directors to manage the operational aspects and strategic planning for the sorority’s 33 undergraduate and alumnae chapters in Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, Michigan and Ohio.

Ortiz is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on Education Policy, Organization and Leadership. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.

“The education field is constantly evolving and can feel hectic. If you prioritize students’ needs and advocate for them, the outcomes will be worth every second”.


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