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Let UST FirstGen Group Support You
As a part of the UST First Generation College Student Initiative, the FirstGen Group comes together every other Friday at 12:30 p.m. in Ahern Room, Crooker Center, to talk about issues facing first-generation students. UST classifies first-generation students as those whose parents do not have a bachelor’s degree. Get to know some FirstGen Group participants. For more information, contact Ric Montelongo,, or Yolanda Norman, 
Dr. Ric Montelongo, Director for Student Success
Texas A&M University Alumnus
Photo: Dr. Ric Montelongo"While my parents never attended college, my siblings were raised in a household where the message was always ‘when you go to college,’ not ‘if you go to college.’ That message was important and reminded me that hardships can be overcome and successes are within reach.  I try to give the same message when working with UST first-generation college students.”

Yolanda Norman, Director of Residence Life and Conference Housing
University of Southern Mississippi Alumna
Photo: Yolanda Norman"When I first entered college, I wasn't as forthcoming about my first-generation college student status because it seemed that everyone around me had parents who knew everything about the college process. It wasn't until my junior year that I discovered my pride in being first and the generations I would be affecting coming behind me. I was making a difference, met others who were doing the same thing and had an obligation to use my voice in this new found community. Today, I'm proud to be a first generation college graduate, three times over, and am passionate about supporting first generation college students here at UST."
Dr. Charles Stewart, Assistant Professor of Art History
University of Missouri Alumnus
Photo: Dr. Charles Stewart“At first I was not ‘proud’ being a first-generation student, but rather ashamed. But over time, I came to appreciate my circumstances, and now I am humbled to have succeeded. For me, there were many obstacles that tried to stop me from pursuing an academic career. However, once I was in college, all my professors saw my ability and encouraged me in ways my parents could not. I really think God placed these guides in my life. That is why I’m a professor today: to ‘repay’ those who helped me along the way.”
Priscilla Jimenez
UST MBA Student
Photo: Priscilla Jimenez“I am very close to my family who provide me with great support, but when I am looking for what happens next in school or in my career, I need outside resources. The UST FirstGen Group has helped other students, and myself, overcome the obstacles of finding ways to pay for school, tackling time management and opening the door to opportunities. With the support of my family and the FirstGen Group I can achieve more. The past two semesters I have made the Dean’s list with my knowledge and their support. I couldn't have done it without them. My great grandmother, born and raised in Texas as a farmer’s daughter, tells me every time I visit how proud she is that I am going to college, which means the world to me.”

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