Ordinarily Extraordinary: Alejandra Rolon-Campise Bridges Borders

ale interview pic

I am constantly meeting fascinating individuals – people whose struggles and triumphs divulge a whole universe of inspiration. It was on my way to work one day – right there in the middle of the 94 California bus – that I had my eureka moment. I decided I was going to interview inspiring, “everyday” individuals; by sharing their stories, I would weave a human narrative whose common theme would be to propel us to engage the personal power within each of us to create change.

Among the first of these people is a good friend of mine, Alejandra Rolon-Campise. I first met Alejandra my freshman year of college in our Model UN class. The fact that English was not her first language, and that she was the eldest in a class full of 19 to 20-somethings did not seem to perturb her. Rather, she jumped right into our class discussions, filling the room with her knowledge, good humor, and love for learning.  

With her two young daughters in tow, Alejandra left her home in Mexico to be with the man she loved in the United States. It was here, she was forced to “reinvent” herself – taking ESL classes, getting her GED, and despite the hurdles of studying in a different language, she graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Benedictine University. That same year, she attained US citizenship, and was also accepted into UIC’s NEW Illinois Leadership Program, which seeks to promote women’s representation in the government.

Next up,  Ale plans to get her master’s in public policy and international relations with the hope of working for global women’s empowerment initiatives.

Tune in to Alejandra’s interview and see what this “ordinarily extraordinary” woman is all about:

Music: “Mojado” by Ricardo Arjona

In Ale’s words:

On Women’s Education –

“I really, truly believe that if girls get educated, if they have access to knowledge, they will be empowered by themselves because they will find the strength inside of them, and then we can all change the world and change our country. I do believe women are the hope of this world, to become a better place in all countries of the world.”

On Immigration Reform –

“This nation is made for immigrants. And I think if you think about it, all the world is made of immigrants. That’s how humanity developed – we moved from one place to the other, to the other, to the other, and then we all ended up in so many places and we populated the world. So I don’t understand why this has been such a big issue in this country.”

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Ordinarily Extraordinary: Alejandra Rolon-Campise Bridges Borders

  1. Rafath

    Assalaamu-Alaikum,

    Thank you for sharing the fascinating stories.

    Rafi’s story is one about a man whose life transformed when he met a decent man and who showed him the light of Islam.

    Alejandra’s story was so sweet and beautiful about a woman’s struggle and perseverance to realize her dreams.

  2. Lorena Moller

    I’m a Highschool friend of Ale, well we still beeing friends, so the only thing I want to say is that I’m so proud of her and her work as woman, friend, mother, etc. She knows that I’ll always admire her and apreciate her friendship. “Dear friend Keep working on your dreams.
    With love Lorena!!!!!!

  3. Sizy

    I met Ale when we both worked for General Electric in Mexico, she was an angel to me, like a mother to me… she always had an advice and an smile for me, she always had that such a good sense of humor that colored the day to the ones who where next to her, she had too many friends, she was always smiling and doing jokes, that you couldn’t tell if she was going through all this difficult situation in her personal life. She always was there for whomever who needed a hand. I won’t ever forget that after finishing a business trip in Schenectady, NY; she took me all the way to New York City aboard the AMTRAK train; even though her nephew was going to be born that specific weekend! So she toured me around a dream, that’s something I will never forget and that I will always be thankful to her.
    I’ve always admired her and respect her, but now after listening to her interview, I just can thank God for placing her in my life. And I am sure that life will take you wherever you get to be, to accomplish all your dreams.
    Ale, I am so proud of you.
    With love,
    Sizy

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