She is our final feature in the First Gen Spotlight Series and this person is amazing! Her love for life and books is infectious. She has embraced her culture and overcome fears that resonate with most First Gens.
1. What is your name?
2. What is your current occupation?
Clinical Trials Specialist
3. What is your education background?
Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Notre Dame of Maryland University
Certificate of Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance from The University of Chicago
4. What is your family background?
My family is originally from Mexico. We migrated to the USA when I was 2 years old.
5. Do you have any "firsts" recognized by your family?
I was the first to go to college and the first to graduate from college within my family.
6. How were you able to achieve them?
It may be a cliché, but I owe everything that I've achieved to my parents. They never let settled for, “No, that's not for me,” “But I am afraid,” or “I'm just not smart enough.” If it weren't for them pushing me to be better, I honestly don't think I would have made it through college.
7. What was your biggest obstacle or challenge to become the first in your family?
I think the biggest obstacle to becoming the first in my family was overcoming the fear of failing. Also realizing that by succeeding I wasn't leaving anyone behind; I was succeeding for all of us.
8. Have you interacted with other first-generation students or graduates while on your journey to become who you are today?
I definitely have encountered other first-generation students while on my journey. However some, if not most, aren't very open about it. But I guess that could be that I wasn't very open about it. I really didn't find out about others like me until after I was out of school.
9. What do you wish you would have known while you were a first-gen student?
I wish I had known that it's okay to ask for help! I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do things like study effectively and how to conquer loneliness/homesickness. Plenty of people ask for help; it's okay to ask for help!
10. Do you believe your first gen experiences have come to an end?
As the youngest and one of the few Latinos in my office, I do not think that my first gen experience has come to an end. I'm not sure it will end given the fact that the STEM field has clear gaps in employment/recruitment of women and minorities. I can only hope by staying where I am and continuing to thrive, that I can help others like me into the field.
11. What advice would you give to a first generation student or graduate watching this video who is seeking to become a first-generation professional in the U.S.?
Do not be afraid to reach for positions that you may feel you are underqualified for! It's so easy to talk yourself down but don't forget for every time you talk yourself down there are folks out there talking themselves up with much less experience.
12. Pick one value you were taught when you were young and carried with you through your college and graduate school years that you believe separates you as a first gen and has helped you become a career-driven person today.
Knowing and seeing my parents struggle with the language has really stuck with me. That thought alone would be all I needed when I had a difficult exam coming up in school or a meeting at work that I was nervous about. If they could travel to a country were they didn't know the language or had little family then I should have no problem tackling anything that came at me. Everything I can do is because of them, so every time I push for something, I know it's so I can some day repay them for everything they have given to me. Fighting for my family has definitely made me a career-driven person.
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