First-generation Roadrunner helps other UTSA first-gens unite
(May 31, 2017) -- Carla Juarez grew up in a small Texas town, and although neither one of her parents attended college she was a star student. With the second highest grade-point-average in her high school, Juarez expected to breeze through college.
Yet there she was, 100 miles away from home, guiding herself through the unknowns of college life, the admissions process and how to pay for tuition. When you're a first-generation student, everything is just a little harder to navigate.
"My parents didn't finish high school, they didn't even finish elementary school," said Juarez, a junior majoring in accounting at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). "They had no idea how to help me in high school, so I did it on my own. I applied to college on my own. I looked for scholarships on my own. I know they couldn't help me as much, but they were as supportive as they could be and were there for me."
With more than 11,000 first-gen undergraduates at UTSA, Carla isn't alone. She joined and became vice-president of First to Go and Graduate (F2G&G), a student organization which has 64 members.
"First-gens don't always have someone who knows what's going on," she said. "I want to help them get involved on campus, and I want to be there for them when they have questions."
Recently the student organization, along with several campus offices, hosted First-Gen Fest to raise awareness about the experience of students who are the first in their families to complete a four-year degree. Some 100 students, faculty and staff showed up to the event, displaying their "I am First-Gen" t-shirts, buttons and signs. Participants included interim President of UTSA, Pedro Reyes, who is also a first-generation student.
The event was a success, said Carla, who smiles when she spots a student still wearing the shirt.
"It's like there's an immediate connection, I can relate with them," she said.
In between classes, working with F2G&G and helping with the Student Government Association, Carla tries to visit home at least once a month. Her father, a stone worker at a quarry, and her mother, a custodian at an elementary school, have worked hard to try to alleviate the cost of tuition for Juarez.
With college tuition and expenses on the rise, Carla works part-time on campus and relies heavily on scholarship support. So far she's managed to make her way through college debt-free thanks in part to donor support.
"First-gen students are very determined," said Juarez, who will be interning at PricewaterhouseCoopers in January. "We don't take our education for granted and are grateful to have the opportunities that our parents didn't have."
Learn more about UTSA's first-generation family.
Learn more about First to Go and Graduate at UTSA.
Community input is central to developing a well-conceived roadmap for the next 50 years of the ITC. To date, the visioning process has included opportunities for public input and ideation through two rounds of Community Conversations that sought input from a wide variety of ITC stakeholders.Virtual Event
Texas teachers looking for support teaching African American History in high school classrooms will learn from African American Studies professrs at UTSA.Virtual Event
The ACOB Alumni Council will be hosting an Alumni Council Luncheon. Alumni and current UTSA Graduate Students in the Alvarez College of Business are invited to attend.Alamo Cafe, 14250 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio
Week 4 of our Career Skills Summer Workshop series! This week we will be talking about job interviewing and tips and advice around how to be successful.Virtual Event
Please join us Thursday, July 7th, 2022 for a discussion with Colonel (ret) Michael Davis, MD, FACS, FRCS (Hon), former Director of the U.S. Combat Casualty Care Research Program. Dr. Davis will discuss how to best identify strengths at UTSA that can be effectively leveraged for funding proposals to the Department of Defense.Business Building (BB `2.06.04,) Main Campus
Educators will develop strategies that can be implemented to stimulate, guide, and build capacity of diverse student populations.UTSA Downtown Campus
Participants will be introduced to applications included in Adobe Creative Cloud, a tool that is free for all UTSA faculty, staff, and students. Attendees will be able to complete short projects that will give them the opportunity to produce artifacts that they can use to improve digital literacy in their coursesVirtual Event