Rachel Samaniego

Rider Profile
HometownChicago, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorArt Education | Minor in Teaching English as Second Language
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My name is Rachel Alyssa Samaniego and I am from the South Side of Chicago. My father is from Mexico and my mother is from Colombia. I am studying to become an Art and English teacher. I am very passionate about education and my long term goals involve contributing toward the improvement of the Chicago Public school system. Coming to the University of Illinois inspired me to pursue a career toward social improvement and advocacy. I am also an artist and graphic designer. I want my involvement in the arts to not only speak for me, but for others--this is why I want to teach the arts. I am a firm believer in the importance of a strong art curriculum, and I hope to teach art in Chicago and Latin American countries and help develop youth programs where needed. I stay busy on campus by working at Allen Hall as a desk clerk or as the graphic designer for the Latina/o Studies Office. I am trying to practice my Portuguese because I hope to teach in Brazil one day. I am also involved in International Impact, an organization that travels to different countries and volunteers. This year my group is volunteering in Ecuador. I really enjoy riding my bike and find bike rides to be one of the most mind clearing actions. Lately, I have been really interested in photography and I am trying to learn as much as I can! However, most of the time I stay in and watch movies and play video games with my roommates. I don't like cancer. I don't think anyone does. Illini 4000 is an organization that fights for a cause I believe in. By working together, our contributions toward the fight against cancer will truly make a difference, and I want to be a part of that.

Personal Statement

Cancer continues to affect the lives of many people. It is something that affects every person in this world, whether they know it or not. Recently, my father's cousin, Normita, passed away because of a brain tumor. My aunt, Lucy, is a cancer survivor, but I still remember the fear that we had while she was going through surgery and treatment. It is heartbreaking to see the people I love the most go through such hardship. This was truly a reality check. My family? Affected by cancer? I never would have thought that possible. And when it happened, I did not even know what to say, or how to act. It seemed unreal. I believe that when people work together, great change is possible. A small group of crazy bikers achieve so much more than a ride across the country. We are learning and growing as individuals. Our journey serves as a form of education; it inspires others to do the same. But more importantly, it builds hope for the victims of cancer and their family.