Jacky Villagomez ’08: From San Miguel School Chicago to a successful career at one of the world’s top biopharmaceutical firms

Jacky Villagomez ’08
Giving back: After achieving career success, Jacky Villagomez ’08 joined San Miguel School Chicago’s Auxiliary Board in July 2021 to lift up the next generation of San Miguel Scholars.

At the age of 11, Jacky Villagomez was a smart, inquisitive Back of the Yards kid who loved to read. But after six years at the local public elementary school—which was overcrowded, understaffed and short on resources—she wasn’t living up to her full potential.

“I just wasn’t where I needed to be in reading, writing and math,” Villagomez recalls. “So my folks sent me to San Miguel School to get a better education.”

Her first reaction? Culture shock!

“At first, it felt like too much,” she says with a laugh. “I was in a classroom with 25 kids instead of 40, I had three teachers instead of one and the counselors were always checking in to see if I needed support. I couldn’t get away with anything!”

Yet Villagomez thrived in the nurturing, supportive environment at San Miguel School. “My teachers pushed me hard in math and reading, which laid the foundation for my later success.”

In 2012, Villagomez graduated in the top 2% of her high school class and matriculated at DePaul University, where 85% of her tuition was covered by merit-based grants and scholarships.

In 2016, the accounting major realized her dream of earning a bachelor’s degree at a prestigious four-year university. That same year, she was recruited by KPMG, one of the nation’s “Big Four” accounting firms.

Now a senior auditor at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, this San Miguel School Chicago alumna is fulfilling another dream by giving back to her community as a member of the San Miguel School Chicago Auxiliary Board.

“It’s an honor to support the school that has helped me thrive in my career and my life,” she confides. “I love serving as a role model for San Miguel’s current students. I tell them, ‘I sat at the same desk you are sitting at now and this is where I am today. With a little help and a lot of hard work, anything is possible.’”