Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Award Recipients
YOUNG ALUMNA OF THE YEAR AWARD
Colleen Kujawa Boraca, Arts '99
Colleen, the director of Northern Illinois University College of Law’s Health Advocacy Clinic, believes in people who no longer believe in themselves — but often still are filled with resilience and hope.
The clinic is located in Hesed House, a homeless shelter in Aurora, Ill., that helps people no matter where they are in their lives.
A clinical assistant professor at NIU’s College of Law, Colleen says the students she works with at the advocacy clinic remind her why she pursued a career in public interest law. The students see how beneficial their work as lawyers can be to people facing poverty.
“My short- and long-term goals would be to continue the work that I and my students do to end homelessness one person, one family at a time,” Colleen says. “Plus, I love teaching the next generation of lawyers that no matter what type of law they are pursuing, they have an obligation to use their talents to help those who are less fortunate.”
Prior to taking her current position, Colleen was a supervising attorney at the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. She led the council’s Family Support Project, which works with attorneys and social workers to help people affected by HIV/AIDS access quality health care and become financially stable.
She’s also worked as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney for seven years, serving in both the Child Support Enforcement Division and the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Unit. She formerly chaired the Chicago Bar Association’s Mental Health and Disability Law Committee. She currently co-chairs the Kane County Bar Association Elder Care, Disability and Mental Health Law committee.
Fun fact: Colleen regularly attended 10 p.m. Tuesday Mass at St. Joan of Arc Chapel and has fantastic memories of family dinners and holiday parties with her roommates. “My best friends in life, including my husband, are those I met at Marquette,” she says.