Two LLCC students recognized during governor’s budget address

Dr. Charlotte Warren, Lauren Hernandez, Governor J.B. Pritzker, Brandon Ihlenfeldt and Dr. Brian DurhamGovernor J.B. Pritzker recognized two LLCC students during his budget address yesterday, Feb. 19. Brandon Ihlenfeldt is an HVAC student after completing coursework and his GED through LLCC Adult Education. Lauren Hernandez is a student in the associate degree nursing program. Both are MAP grant recipients. After the address, Lauren was interviewed by the State Journal-Register, and both are being interviewed for an upcoming story in the Illinois Times. Dr. Charlotte Warren, president, accompanied the students to the Illinois State Capitol for the Governor’s address. They are pictured with Dr. Brian Durham, executive director, Illinois Community College Board.

The Governor said, “Today we have two students here whose families and communities will be stronger thanks to their hard work and our investments in MAP grants. They personify exactly why we need to set aside MAP funding especially for community college students. Lincoln Land Community College here in Springfield is lucky to count them among their student body.

“When Lauren Hernandez was 12, her 6-year-old sister was diagnosed with cancer. After watching how hard the nurses worked to help her sister every day, she felt drawn to the healthcare profession. When her sister passed away a few years later, it cemented Lauren’s conviction to become a nurse. Today, Lauren is married and the mother of a beautiful baby boy and MAP grants are covering the portion of her tuition that she couldn’t afford. She is the first person in her family to attend college. She’s working overnight shifts at St. Francis Hospital. And she’s why our future as a state is so bright. Please give Lauren a round of applause for her hard work and commitment.

“I also want to introduce you all to Brandon Ihlenfeldt, who earned his GED at Lincoln Land and is in the final semester of his H-VAC program. He’ll graduate this spring with a degree and the ability to do work that he loves. Brandon is also a husband and a father, and after a full day at work at Illinois National Bank and a full evening at school, he finds time to spend with his family. But he knows that an education is the key to being able to get a good job to support them. Without MAP grants, he would’ve had to take on loans and debt, with two young children. For Brandon, this is an opportunity he wouldn’t have had otherwise; and it’s an opportunity you all made possible by expanding the MAP grant program. Please give a round of applause to a great family man and a hard worker, Brandon Ihlenfeldt.

“There is no more critical investment we can make in the future of our state than in our bright and ambitious young people, like Azriel, Lauren and Brandon.”