Tag Archives: students

What Makes Them Tick? (Video)

Part of college is finding what it is that  “makes you tick.”

The video below is an insight of what makes four first-generation students tick. They’re in college not only to pursue a higher education that their parents couldn’t but also to find a career that they will enjoy. I asked each of them what it is that makes them tick about their career path relating to their major. Each described what it is that makes them “tick.”

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Video Preview: What makes them tick?

From left to right: Michelle Lam, Nick Tuong, Yajaira Perdomo and Alejandra Rosa. Photos by Melissa Nunez.
From left to right: Michelle Lam, Nick Tuong, Yajaira Perdomo and Alejandra Rosa. Photos by Melissa Nunez.

First-generation college students are aspiring for a better future by pursuing a higher education. They are in search for a career that they enjoy and makes them tick.

This has led me to work on a project that I will be busy with this week. I will be posting a video next Thursday that will showcase interviews with four first-generation students who have found a major that suits not only their abilities but also their likes. Each describes what it is about their major that makes them tick.

  • Michelle Lam is a first-year computer science major from Sacramento, Ca. She is fascinated by Computer Science because part of it is like math which she is good at. She enjoys translating for a computer.
  • Nick Tuong is a first-year mechanical engineering major from Los Angeles, Ca. He loves that his major requires him to do “everything.”
  • Alejandra Rosa is a first-year political science major from Firebaugh, Ca. She has her eye on running for a specific political position. Being exposed to agriculture her whole life has led her to gain knowledge that she plans on using in her career.
  • Yajaira Perdomo is a first year mechanical engineering major from Los Angeles, Ca. She likes the drafting part of engineering because it lets her create. She wishes to one day make a change.

Aside from the interviews, the video will also showcase the students in action doing what they like to do! Stay tuned!

Growing Up as a First-Generation Student

Growing up as a first-generation student can be difficult. Most grow up in a  low-income household and have to go through situations that can be hard and stressful. Some students have to work from an early age or just simply find someway to help our parents have enough money for necessities. 

I interviewed two current Cal Poly students and one Cal Poly Alumni, now faculty member, and asked them how it was like for them to grow up.

Carla Quinonez moved to the U.S. about six years ago and is now a biomedical engineering major. Maria Arvizu-Rodriguez, worked in the agricultural fields with her parents and is now an academic advisor. Dainy Cruz Cortes grew up at her parents work, a sewing factory, and is now a business major.

Hear how it was like growing up for them.

7 Reasons First-Gen and Low-Income College Students Should Use Alltuition

Applying to a college is one thing and applying for financial aid is another. It is very important for first-generation students and other low-income students to apply for financial aid because it could be the only source of funding they have to pay for college. Just like the college application the Free Application for Student Aid is tedious. Which is why Alltuition is very helpful and can come in handy to go through that application process. Here are 7 reasons why:

Continue reading 7 Reasons First-Gen and Low-Income College Students Should Use Alltuition

First-Generation College Students Support Group

Support Group rules. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Support Group rules. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Merriam Webster defines a support group as, “a group of people who have similar experiences and concerns and who meet in order to provide emotional help, advice, and encouragement for one another.” Cal Poly’s Counseling Services offers support groups for students with different types of concerns. A support group that is offered to students is the “First-Generation College Students Support Group.”

Continue reading First-Generation College Students Support Group

From My Point of View

Visiting Cal Poly SLO. Photo by Virginia Nunez.
Visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Photo by Virginia Nunez.

If you’ve read the “About” section on this blog you know that I myself am a first-generation and low-income college student.

A goal of mine for this blog is to focus on the experiences of other students on each post but this post will be an exception because as a change I will be talking about my experience. I will touch on several past posts and add how I personally relate to the topic.

Continue reading From My Point of View

Miles Away from Home (Interactive Map)

CA-101 Freeway. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
CA-101 Freeway. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Going away from home for the first time is a big step in life. It takes a good reason to do it. For first-generation students and many other college students that reason is college. Some students choose to stay close and go to college near their home or commute. But others have to travel miles to a new city with new people, places and surroundings. It is saying goodbye to everything they have ever known. But it’s worth it because they are going away to pursue and education.

Continue reading Miles Away from Home (Interactive Map)

Cal Poly Summer Institute

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At Avila Beach. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Going away to college is a big step for anyone. It means shedding out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new surroundings. It hits harder being a first-generation student because our parents are not able to guide us through the process.

First-generation students in the Educational Opportunity Program at Cal Poly are given the opportunity to attend a program called Summer Institute. It usually runs through the end of July to the middle of August. They stay in on-campus apartments, take a General Education course and attend supplemental workshops. The program also includes activities that helps them get familiar with San Luis Obispo. The program is held every summer. This last summer, 89 incoming EOP freshmen got to attend. The 2013 program ran from July 27 – August 20th. This year’s theme was DC superheroes with the motto being “Made of Steel.” The Summer Institute Program Coordinator and Program Assistants are in charge of the program.

“The purpose of Summer Institute is to help out students transition to college,” Jon Diaz, Summer Institute Program Assistant said.

Continue reading Cal Poly Summer Institute

In the Twittersphere

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Hello readers!

One thing about me that you do not know is that I am a social media junkie. Twitter is one of the social media sites that I use very often. In the past, my tweets have been random ramblings but now that I am in college my tweets are mainly about my college experience! It’s also somewhere you can get to know me more.

I also post a link to my posts every time I post a new one. You can also see my tweets on the widget on the bottom of the main page of this blog.

Click below to follow me!

https://twitter.com/melissaenunez

It Starts with a Dream

Volunteer and Cal Poly SLO student Mayra Mejia leading Santa Maria High School students to registration
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Mayra Mejia leading Santa Maria High School students to registration. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

On Saturday January 11, 2014, Cal Poly MEXA, hosted its annual Xicano Youth Conference. Each year the conference welcomes first-generation underrepresented high school students, counselors and parents to spend the day at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, learn from workshops and interact with current first-generation college students.

“Often times these students don’t have a role model to follow and that might discourage them from considering a higher education as an option,” XYC Coordinator Jessica Ordonez said.

XYC Coordinators Jessica Ordonez and Diana Sandoval welcoming students
XYC Coordinators Jessica Ordonez and Diana Sandoval welcoming students. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

The workshops touch on topics that help the high school students learn of the different opportunities and possibilities available to them. First-generation students can see college as a stretch due to struggles in school and financial issues like Skyler Lopez did when he was a senior at Taft High School in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Students from high schools in Bakersfield, Santa Maria, Paso Robles and Ventura attended the conference.

The theme for this year’s conference was “We Have a Dream.” Students were able to write their goals or dreams on a whiteboard and take a picture with it.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Jose Navarro, an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“Dreams stay in the imagination if you don’t start to plan, when you start to plan, dreams turn into goals,” Navarro told students.  “Dreams require to imagine, to imagine potential.”

Cal Poly SLO Student Jose Antonio Martinez ready to guide students to a workshop. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Cal Poly SLO Student Jose Antonio Martinez ready to guide students to a workshop. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

The students then attended three out of the nine workshops:

  • College Survival 101
  • Educational Opportunity Program 101
  • Financial Aid
  • You are the environment
  • Positive Discipline for Parents
  • Is college your next step?
  • Innovation
  • LEGO Team-Building
  • Personal Statement/Scholarship Essay Writing

Current first-generation Cal Poly SLO students also gave the students a guided tour of the campus.

Cal Poly SLO student Laura Hernandez giving students a tour of the campus. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Cal Poly SLO student Laura Hernandez giving students a tour of the campus. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Benito Salas is currently a senior at East Bakersfield High School and has just finished applying to colleges.

“I would like to get accepted to Fresno State or San Diego State because they have good Criminal Justice programs and that is what I plan on majoring in,” Salas said.

He would like to be part of the California Highway Patrol.

“I’ve been on the road with my dad, who’s a truck driver, I’ve seen how it was and it kind of interested me at first and the more I researched about it the more it hit me,” Salas said.

Sandra Garcia a student from Paso Robles High School already has in mind what she is

looking for in a college.

Paso Robles High School students Amy Romero and Sandra Garcia. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Paso Robles High School students Amy Romero and Sandra Garcia. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

“I’m planning to be the first to graduate in my family and I want to attend a smaller college than Fresno State and stay close to my family. I like Cal Poly SLO and I would like to study something in agriculture,” Garcia said.

Being first-generation influences the goals of Esmeralda Cruz, a student from East Bakersfield High School.

“Being a first-generation inspires me even more and it’s a lot of pressure on me. I know that it will make my family proud. Also would make my mom extremely proud for me to go further in life and not let anything stop me from doing what I need to do to be successful. It also inspires me to be a good role model for my brother and my cousins that look up to me,” Cruz said.

Ruben Tellez, a student from East Bakersfield High School, hopes to attend Cal Poly SLO.  “On the Internet, I’ve researched Cal Poly and it’s a great school for me,” Tellez said. He would like to major in engineering and/or architecture.

“I think that education is the only way to get ahead in life,” Ordonez said. “By putting on these type of events, we hope to make higher education a more realistic dream for underrepresented students.”