Class of 2016
Schafaris graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in June of 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Sports and Tourism and is now working toward her Masters degree in Sports Management. She grew up in the Englewood/Back of the Yards neighborhood on the city’s south side.
One day, Schafaris Turner (Class of ‘16) dreams of giving back to Chicago by opening recreation centers that will serve as “safe havens for inner city athletes and youth.” These centers will be staffed by mentors, tutors, and coaches who will “help keep youth on the right path and guide them to reach their full potential athletically and academically.”
In the shorter term, however, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Sports Management at her alma mater, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Schafaris received a Graduate Assistant position in Event Management with UIUC’s athletic department and is attending graduate school tuition-free. After graduation, she plans to pursue a position in event management for a collegiate athletic department for a Big 10 or SEC school, and one day become an athletic director.
Schafaris was the first in her family to attend college. Because no one in her family had gone through the college admissions process before, they could offer encouragement, but not much by way of application advice. As Schafaris says, “As much as my family wanted to help me with the application process, they couldn’t because they didn’t know much about it.” Schafaris’ high school counselor told her about Chicago Scholars, and she got the support she needed.
“Chicago Scholars has helped me succeed by constantly providing support for me… I never felt like I was alone.”
Schafaris became a leader within Chicago Scholars. Her favorite part of the program was when she served as a Chicago Scholars Class Officer in 2012: “I became really good friends with my fellow class officers and it was amazing joining together to unite all of the current classes within Chicago Scholars.” Schafaris’ advice to younger Scholars is to keep their eyes on the prize, despite the struggles they will undoubtedly face.
“When you finally walk across that stage to receive your degree, it will be the most satisfying moment in the world."