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Celebrating the Firsts

Blazing a new trail. It's a Courageous step clothed in excitement. But, also comes with challenges in order to successfully navigate all that lies before the first-generation student. No one else in the family has gone to college, so the legacy a first-gen student can potentially leave for the family is powerful. Yet, there is no one at home to offer advice or shared experiences. There is no flight plan.

Except at UTSA, we too are a family. We pull together to help these new students achieve academic success. Nearly half of our undergraduates are first-generation students — the first in their family to earn a degree — as are many members of our faculty and staff. So, we know our first-gen students need support, from the initial visit to UTSA to see how it meets their needs…all to way through, until the graduation walk is taken to receive that significant first diploma on behalf of their current and future families.

One of the ways we help our #FirstGenUTSA students is by partnering them with faculty and student mentors. Mentors can help with adaptation to new academic schedules, to understand financial aid resources and to discover productive study habits. UTSA is dedicated to student success. Take a moment to meet some of our first-generation students who excelled at UTSA. They bring assurance and encouragement that the challenges and work ahead are worth the ride.

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Jewel Barnett Profile
Meet Jewel Barnett M.S. '14, Ph.D. '17

From Homelessness to a Ph.D.

“It's definitely been a journey, but I would encourage students to keep pushing for their dreams and know people at UTSA will help them succeed.”

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Aashiq Jivani Profile
Meet Aashiq Jivani '18

Helping Other First-Gens

“I want to make sure that first-generation Roadrunners have the same opportunities other students have to succeed.”

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Carla Juarez Profile
Meet Carla Juarez '17

Becoming a Student Leader

“First-gen students are very determined. We don't take our education for granted and are grateful to have the opportunities that our parents didn't have."

MEET MORE UTSA FIRST-GENS

There are nearly 12,000 more first-gen students at UTSA who are inspiring, dedicated achievers.

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Jacquelyn Reyes Profile

Jacquelyn Reyes '16

Reyes' exploration of public administration at UTSA helped her find a love of community and public service.

read Jacquelyn's story

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Brianna Diaz Profile

Brianna Diaz

Diaz's civic engagement experience inspired her to travel the globe to study education programs.

read Brianna's story

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Shon Brewington Profile

Shon Brewington '17

Inspired by his psychology studies, Brewington is working to change education policy on the national level.

read Shon's story

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Vanessa Sansone Profile

Vanessa Sansone M.Ed. '12, Ed.D. '17

A love of education inspired Sansone to help diverse student populations find their success through education.

read Vanessa's story

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Guan Saw Profile

Guan Saw

UTSA psychology professor Saw is helping first-gen students from underserved groups, particularly to succeed in STEM fields.

read Guan's story

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Elizabeth Arevalo Profile

Elizabeth Arevalo '01, M.A. '03

Her love for UTSA inspired Arevalo to build the foundations of student life on the Downtown Campus.

read Elizabeth's story

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Sanah Jivani Profile

Sanah Jivani

Jivani was inspired to use her sociology studies to help other students via her own nonprofit.

Read Sanah's story

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Celebrating First-Gens

UTSA dedicates an entire week to its first-gen familia during First-Gen Fest, with events and programs specific to the needs of first-generation students, faculty, staff and student families.

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Celebrating First-Gens

UTSA dedicates an entire week to its first-gen familia during First-Gen Fest, with events and programs specific to the needs of first-generation students, faculty, staff and student families.

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First-Gen Support

UTSA's First to Go and Graduate (F2G&G) provides face-to-face support to first-generation students by pairing them with first-generation faculty and peer mentors. Each mentee is placed in a group called a “familia”, or family where they identify, discuss and navigate the challenges and opportunities that come along with being the first in their families to complete college. They also learn how to apply for graduate school, conduct and present research, and utilize resources to excel in their degree programs.

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