Durbin Announces Summer 2018 Recipients Of The Ed Greelegs Scholarship Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced Karla Robles, a rising college senior at Loyola University Chicago, and Ivy Lyons, a rising college senior at Greenville University, as the summer 2018 recipients of the Ed Greelegs Scholarship Program.  This scholarship, open to students from Illinois or those studying in Illinois, is an opportunity for the students to receive financial assistance while obtaining a first-hand experience in Senator Durbin’s Washington, D.C. office.  The program was created in honor of Durbin’s former Chief of Staff who passed away in March 2017 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease. 

“Ed knew everybody in Washington by name and everybody knew Ed.  From Teddy Kennedy to the elevator operator, and the men and women who cleaned our office and polished the floor.  Even as parts of his memory were failing, his passion for politics never changed.  Ed is at peace now, but his influence remains with the lives he touched,” said Durbin.  “I’m excited to continue this scholarship program in Ed’s name and honor, to carry on his love of politics to the next generation by making the incredible experience of a Washington, D.C. internship possible for any Illinois student interested, no matter their background.  Karla and Ivy are two incredible students who show a deep passion for making this world a better and more inclusive place for their generation and generations to come.  I’m excited to see all that they accomplish in this internship and in the years to come.”

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be an Ed Greelegs Scholarship recipient.  I have always had a passion for policy, but never imagined to find myself in Washington, D.C.   This scholarship has allowed me to spend the summer learning and advocating for issues I am passionate about while representing the Latinx community and women of color.  I will forever cherish this opportunity and thank Senator Durbin and everyone is his office for being great role models and teaching me about public service,” said Karla Robles.  “As a DACA recipient, I have always admired Senator Durbin for the work he does to support undocumented immigrants and it has been an honor to intern in his office this summer.”

“I don’t think I have the words to express the amount of joy that comes with getting the opportunity to be one of the Ed Greelegs scholars for the duration of the summer.  I am so thankful for the chance to get to meet other interns, to explore the inner workings of our legislature, and the continued opportunities for learning and growth that are made available to me by Senator Durbin’s office,” said Ivy Lyons.  “As I continue in this internship, I hope to be a leader and inspiration to young individuals like me, to the impoverished, to persons of color, and to those in the LGBT community.”

Photos of Durbin with Karla Robles and Ivy Lyons are available here. 

Karla Robles was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moved to Illinois at the age of eight.  She is currently a rising senior at Loyola University Chicago studying secondary education and Spanish.  Prior to transferring to Loyola, Karla attended Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, and fulfilled a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA working on Parent Engagement and Volunteer Recruitment at an elementary school.

Due to Karla’s experiences as an immigrant and current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, she is a passionate advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and equitable resources for marginalized communities.  At Loyola, Karla has been involved in Student Government, Club Tennis, and has advocated for immigration reform through an organized DACA Repeal Walk-out.  She has also volunteered at a Dream Act Letter Writing Campaign and Dream Act phone-athon to encourage students to call their representatives in support of the Dream Act.

Ivy Lyons is a lifelong resident of Southern Illinois, moving from East St. Louis and Caseyville to Metropolis, Illinois.  He is a rising senior at Greenville University (GU) in Greenville, Illinois, and hopes to graduate in the spring of 2019 with his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies.

Ivy serves as an Assistant Coordinator of Residence Education at Greenville, and have been doing policy research for the institution as they work to improve diversity.  This work serves a dual purpose, as he continues to work on his senior thesis regarding the representation and application of diverse and inclusive philosophies in systemic environments.  Ivy also participates in the GU Choir, GU Chambers Singers, and the Gospel Choir at Greenville University. 

In order to be eligible for the Ed Greelegs Scholarship Program, students must be a resident of Illinois or be enrolled in an accredited college or university in Illinois; must demonstrate financial need; must not be receiving outside financial aid for their internship; and must have demonstrated an interest in public service and the legislative process.

Ed Greelegs started working for Durbin in 1990 and served as his chief of staff in the House of Representatives and Senate for a combined 17 years.  Ed was a beloved member of the Capitol Hill community, and made our country better with his caring approach and dedication to public service.

Senator Durbin paid tribute to Ed shortly after his passing in March 2017.  Video of his floor speech is available here.