Celebrating Our Trailblazers: Three Lutz Scholars Graduate

We are thrilled to announce that three of our all-star Lutz Scholars have graduated from college! Congratulations to Kaylie Perez, Elizabeth Dairo, and Leticia Palma —the first of our 18 Lutz Scholars to complete their college journeys. 

The Lutz Scholars program, created and funded by Karyn Lutz and running from 2020 to 2025, supports a select group of ASM alumni on their college journeys. Participants explore college pathways, ways to secure financial aid, how to navigate college life, ways to find internships, and how to access on-campus resources. Participants in the Lutz Scholars program also receive a scholarship of $4,000 each year to help pay for tuition and other education-related expenses. 

Under the guidance of Martina Cohran, ASM’s Post-Secondary Program Manager, scholars receive personalized support through bi-monthly check-ins. Martina’s mentorship helps scholars develop crucial skills like communication, collaboration, and problem-solving, paving the way for their success in college and beyond. 

Our Lutz Scholars are primarily first-generation college students, making their achievements even more significant. Participants are pursuing diverse majors, from Music Production to Neuroscience, at institutions like Washington University in St. Louis, Howard University, Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern University, and more. 

Meet Our Graduates: 

Kaylie Perez graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This fall, she will begin her career as a Registered Nurse on the Cardiac and Pulmonary floor at Northwestern Hospital. As part of Northwestern’s Nurse Residency program, Kaylie will build community and learn how to navigate her first year as a registered nurse. At Loyola, Kaylie was involved in the STARS mentorship program and the CAREs cohort, where she represented minorities and first-generation students in the nursing school. She also served as a supervisor at the student center. Reflecting on her Lutz Scholars experience, Kaylie said, “The financial support, mentorship, and check-ins from ASM were instrumental in my college career.”  

As an ASM teen, Kaylie participated in the Upbeat music program at the Lutz Center. 

Elizabeth “Liz” Dairo graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIU) with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, along with dual minors in Paralegal Studies and Psychology. She currently works as a Legal Advocate for Domestic Abuse at the Survivor Empowerment Center in Carbondale, IL, and plans to attend SIU’s Law School in Fall 2025 after a well-deserved gap year. During her time at SIU, Liz was an active member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. Reflecting on her journey, Liz said, “The Lutz Scholars program was immensely beneficial, providing me with tuition assistance and help with groceries. It was crucial support when campus resources were limited.”  

As an ASM teen, Liz participated in the Audio Journalism and Culinary programs at the Lutz Center.

Leticia “Lety” Palma graduated from Elmhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is preparing for a career in immigration law and family practice, actively studying for the LSATs with plans to start law school in Fall 2025. During her time at Elmhurst, Lety was a dedicated community volunteer and worked part-time while helping first-generation college students and families. “The Lutz Scholars program provided me a laptop which saved my life; I couldn’t have gotten through college without it,” Lety shared. “The program’s financial assistance significantly reduced my financial burden, allowing me to prioritize my education.”  

As an ASM teen, Lety participated in the Upbeat music program, where she learned to play piano, guitar, and bass, and developed teamwork, problem-solving, and compassion. 

Thank you to Karyn Lutz for creating this transformative program which is financially supporting and guiding our Lutz Scholars through a critical chapter in their lives. Our graduates have shared how critical this program was to them, their families, and completing their college journey.  

Congratulations once again to Kaylie, Liz, and Lety! We are incredibly proud of your achievements and look forward to seeing all the amazing things you will accomplish in the future.