Esmeralda Portillo, 19, walked across the Macomb school's commencement stage to collect her diploma last month, according to the university.
Portillo received her degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration during the university's commencement weekend on May 14-16.
Esmeralda Portillo, 19, is the youngest Latina woman to graduate from Western Illinois University in the school's history. (Western Illinois University)
"I knew since my early teenage years that I wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement; however, my only issue was I didn't know exactly where," Portillo said. "I was stuck between wanting to travel and wanting to stay close to home. It wasn't until I was explaining my frustrations to my counselor and he immediately suggested WIU."
Portillo began taking classes at a local community college during her high school years, and received her high school diploma and associate's degree in 2019 at the age of 17.
Although she is currently not old enough to meet the age requirements to apply for a police department position, Portillo has been working as a records clerk with the Harvey Police Department since graduation.
Portillo plans to begin working on her master's degree at Michigan State University in Fall 2021.
She hopes to eventually become a special agent with the FBI or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.