The Chicago office of global consulting firm Protiviti awarded two local students with renewable $5,000 college scholarships, funded through employee contributions to the firm’s CommUnity Scholarship Program.

Protiviti, which selects two new Chicago public school student recipients each year that meet a minimum grade point average requirement, handed out this year’s financial support to Ruben Estrada and Alyssa Ford, both recent graduates of Ace Tech Charter High School. They were chosen based on grade point average, school activities, community and civic involvement and interviews with Protiviti employees.

Rueben Estrada moved to the United States in sixth grade before going on to master English and graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA while attaining honor roll status and membership in Ace Tech’s robotics and chess teams. He also attended a college-level physiology class last summer at Northwestern University through the school’s College Bridge Program. He starts college at the Illinois Institute of Technology as a computer engineering major this fall.

Alyssa Ford was also on the Ace Tech honor roll, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. She worked at Catholic Studies and the South Side YMCA during high school summers and was an engineering intern at Rush Medical Center this past summer, where she continued to work through her senior year. She has now begun pursuing a nursing major at Bradley University.

"During the selection process, we met with some tremendously bright and motivated students. However, Reuben and Alyssa truly stood out during their respective interviews," said Sharon Lindstrom, a managing director in Protiviti's Chicago office who oversees the scholarship program, in a statement. "We are proud to forge a long-term relationship with Reuben and Alyssa and support them as they work toward their educational and career goals."

Including Estrada and Ford, Protiviti now supports a total of eight scholars in colleges across the country, and six have graduated with degrees through the program. Launched in April 2005, the program is supported by Chicago-based nonprofit organization Umoja Student Development, which helps select the candidates, and the donations of the firm’s Chicago-area employees, who fund the scholarships entirely.

"By renewing the scholarships over the course of the students' undergraduate studies, we try to personally connect our employees' donations to a positive impact on the students' lives," Lindstrom stated. "One of the reasons this program has been successful is because our employees get to know these students and take a real interest in their futures."