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Take Five with Fatima: High School Senior and Runway 606 Participant

22 March 2024

Fatima thinks Runway 606 gives her the opportunity to broaden her horizons, challenge herself, and grow both academically and personally.

Fatima speaking at the Runway 606 event

Take Five is a series that highlights members of our CPS community. If you know someone who is making a difference, nominate them to be featured here.

Meet Fatima, a 12th-grader at Infinity Math, Science, and Technology High School who is preparing to graduate this spring having already earned her associate degree.

Fatima is one of the first CPS students to be part of Runway 606—a collaboration among CPS, the City Colleges of Chicago, and Illinois Tech that gives students a clear, accelerated pathway to higher education and high-demand technology careers.

Students who participate in Runway 606 get a jumpstart on their college education by completing dual-enrollment courses while in high school. They can then earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years, and a master’s degree in a STEM field just two years after that, which is two years faster than the typical pace.

Fatima is among 85 CPS students who participated in the Runway 606 pilot program this school year. This pilot is focused on a career pathway in cybersecurity, and was rolled out in eight CPS high schools on Chicago’s south and west sides. The cybersecurity pathway will be expanded to all CPS high schools this fall, with the Runway 606 program planning to expand into other high-tech areas like computer science and business analytics within a few years.  

Learn more about Fatima and her experience with Runway 606 below!

Have you always been interested in a career in STEM?

Actually, no. I always thought I would grow up to be a teacher. But then during my freshman year of high school, my favorite class was web design, and that got me interested in computers.

How did you learn about Runway 606?

I learned about Runway 606 from Ms. Montoya, our Early College STEM specialist at Infinity. I was immediately interested, because it involved computer science, which was a subject I already liked a lot. This program has also introduced me to the possibility of a career in cybersecurity.

What do you think is the most beneficial aspect of Runway 606?

The fact that students in the program have access to resources and opportunities that give us a head start, like advanced courses and career certifications. The program gives us the chance to broaden our horizons, challenge ourselves, and grow both academically and personally.

Why are you passionate about cybersecurity?

In these current times, the internet is part of our daily lives, so online security is critical. To put it simply, cybersecurity is about protecting our digital world from attacks. From safeguarding sensitive information to defending the digital realm, the rapidly evolving field of cybersecurity is crucial to ensure a safer future.

What are your current plans for after high school?

Right now, my plan is to go to Illinois Tech and keep learning about computer science and cybersecurity!

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