first generation college students Archives | UnidosNow

A Passionate Associate’s Experience

by Jackie Perez

Dear reader,

My name is Jacqueline Perez and I’m a rising junior at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (Go Blue Devils!). As a first-generation college student from a low socioeconomic background, I know firsthand the issues UnidosNow is tackling. In high school, I had a dream team of my own: three amazing teachers who pushed me into achieving something greater, ultimately, becoming a National QuestBridge Scholar. This summer, I’ve been fortunate to meet and work alongside another dream team—a dedicated group of individuals who are doing incredible things in the Latino/a/x community. 

Being an associate at UnidosNow has provided me with the opportunity to explore my interest in educational access and outreach—a passion that somehow always ended up being placed on the back burner. But UnidosNow challenged me to think critically. My main UnidosNow project was working with the Future Leaders Academy (FLA). I was responsible for establishing a foundation to strengthen career-exploration opportunities for these students. 

For someone who enjoys solving puzzles, I didn’t mind spending hours brainstorming what an effective career-exploration curriculum would look like. I was also able to strengthen my communication skills by going into the community and initiating dialogue on future collaborations. I had the opportunity to meet both community partners and employment-agency professionals, and educate myself on the resources available at State College of Florida and Manatee Technical College. 

Given the size of UnidosNow, I learned how to adapt and wear many different hats, so to speak, which I appreciate because it gave me the opportunity to work with students one-on-one, from mentoring students seeking to become QuestBridge Scholars to helping other students reflect on who they are and what they value. For a long minute I could see myself as a college advisor. 

Moving forward, I have no doubt that I will apply the skills I’ve learned during my UnidosNow experience, whether it’s in the education field or in public health (another passion of mine). What I am sure of is that I want to continue serving the Latino/a/x community in the U.S. and affecting the lives of future generations.

I’m extremely grateful to everyone at UnidosNow for an amazing and welcoming experience. Thank you for all the work you do to help students dream big!

Mil gracias,

Jackie 

Jacqueline Perez

She/Her/Hers

Duke University Class of 2021

QuestBridge Scholar

Palmetto High Alumnus

Mina Quesen, First 30 at Princeton, Gets Ready for Her Next Chapter

by Mina Quesen, Class of 2023

Three weeks ago, I was packing my things and getting ready to leave sunny Florida for Princeton University. Although I can’t seem to escape the Florida heat—even in New Jersey—I’ve found myself in a whole new world ready for discovery. I’ve met people from across the globe, found new challenges in classes, and even gotten rubber chickens stuck on the ceiling. My experience with Princeton’s Freshman Scholar Institute—a summer program for incoming freshmen who are connected as first-generation, low-income students—has been irreplaceable. 

The interim between high school and the start of fall term allows me to ease into college life and to learn about the campus before the rest of the students arrive. I’ve already learned the importance of using a planner and keeping a budget since events—and expenses—quickly add up. 

I’m learning to take things in stride and push forward when faced with challenges, especially when it comes to classes. My greatest challenge, thus far, is learning that it’s okay when I don’t understand something on the first try. My coding class taught me very quickly that there will be times when I’ll be totally lost, but there are always resources waiting to guide me out of the dark. I must seek them out.

Even after these last few weeks, I’m still excited. I’m excited about new ideas and memories I’ve yet to make. I don’t know if the allure of Princeton will ever wear off for me, especially when I hope to continue to be excited by endless possibilities.

UnidosNow Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month & Giving Challenge at Mi Pueblo

mi_pueblo_and_unidosnow_lg

Join UnidosNow tomorrow, Tuesday, September 20th, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month & #GivingChallenge16 at Mi Pueblo El Restaurante Mexicano & Cantina! Mi Pueblo will donate 10% of the proceeds of your meal to support UnidosNow Education programming. Simply print the card above and take it with you when you visit any of the three locations of Mi Pueblo tomorrow!

The UnidosNow team will be at the Tuttle location (8405 Tuttle Ave, Sarasota, FL 34243) at 6 pm, if you want to join the group festivities, but you can help support UnidosNow by having lunch or dinner at any of their locations tomorrow.

Supporting UnidosNow means supporting first generation and low-income college students. When we started the #FutureLeadersAcademy, we knew there was a big need to guide our students and families through the #college process. Listening to their testimonials about their experience in the academy makes us realize the enormous #impact we are having in their lives. You can #BeTheOne to #InspireAStudent. Donate to UnidosNow during the#GivingChallenge16 next Sept. 20-21, noon to noon, and help our students #DREAMBig. #GivingChallenge16Video

UnidosNow at the FCAN Summit

With the theme “Better Together”, the 2016 Florida College Access Network Summit was held at Lake Buenavista. Its goal: to keep empowering communities to work constructively together with our schools and build partnerships with universities, colleges, schools, community organizations, businesses, parents, and students.

Pumariega gave the closing remarks at the summit emphasizing that colleges, business, community leaders and community-based organizations need to work together so that college attainment and college graduation is a reality for all.

UnidosNow Executive Director, Luz Corcuera, participated in the Summit to learn about best practices to bring back to our community. Corcuera was touched by the stories she heard from first generation college students, reminding her to UnidosNow’s scholars.

FCAN_Summit_First_Gen_College_Students

First generation college students sharing their experiences at the FCAN Summit.

FCAN_Summit_Madeline_Pumariega

UnidosNow Executive Director, Luz Corcuera (left), with Madeline Pumariega (right), Chancellor of Florida Colleges.

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.