Diana is a first-year transfer, first generation student studying Communication at UC Davis. She is the first in her family to attend a four-year university. She wants to make her family proud and is grateful to her parents for all of their sacrifices. She celebrates her education as not just hers but rather the efforts made by her parents, and she dedicates her hard work to them.
In search of a better life in the United States, Joyce and her family immigrated from Mexico when she was almost two years old. Her background has helped her stay motivated and achieve many accomplishments in college. After she graduates, she hope to inspire many and provide other first-generation students support.
I was born in the Philippines and migrated to the U.S. when I was 11 years old to meet my parents for the first time. At 16 years old, my parents divorced. After the divorce, my dad lost his job and we lost our home too. By 18 I was homeless, so my best friend’s family took me in. I lived with friends or other relatives until my dad got back on his feet again.
As a first-generation college student and American, Niloufar was ready to face the obstacles ahead of her. Transferring into UC Davis was a challenge, but she felt welcomed and was able to get the support she needed to succeed.
Coming from a hard-working and strong-willed family, Alexandria was motivated to do her best and reach a four-year university. Now, in her last year, she has enjoyed being able to have a chance at work in research and pave the way for others like her.
From a young age, Lucero Morales’ parents instilled in her the importance of a higher education. Seeing the spark for knowledge they’d set in her had caught fire, they fanned the flames and offered to support her financially while she went to college. Her high school was considered “low performing” and many of her friends were the first in their family to go to high school. Of her graduating class, she was one of five students to get into a UC and one of only two to get into UC Davis.
Shiang-Wan Chin '17
Managerial Economics & Communication
My parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, and they did it without speaking English. My siblings and I grew up in San Francisco. When applying for college, I knew I had to stay close to home so I could visit my family easily, so I applied only to UC Berkeley and UC Davis.
UC Davis was always my top school. I first became interested because of its world-renowned agriculture economics program.
Jennifer La '19
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Tell us about your first generation background. Where did you grow up and what is your family history? What is unique about your story?
My family is part of an ethnic minority group from Vietnam known as the Hoa people, ethnically Chinese people who fled to Vietnam to escape economic hardship and violence during the founding of the Republic of China.
First generation college student Jessica Ison found refuge at UC Davis. The FilAm community has helped her connect with her heritage, while the Women's Resources and Research Center provided a sense of belonging when she first arrived on campus. An environmental toxicology major, Jessica is also a talented poet.
Miguel Paulo Flores is in his last year before achieving his Bachelor's degree, but his education is not stopping here. After college, he will then work towards becoming a consumer or product analyst to support his mother and brother. And of course, he wants to make them proud!
Ariana Nagainis ‘19
Animal Biology, Minor: Global Disease Biology and Medical Entomology
I grew up in So. Cal, but my parents and sisters moved from Latvia in 1993, just two years after Latvia re-gained independence from the USSR. My whole family was born there and I still have a lot of family there. My mother frequently sends my extended family money and goods. My first language was Latvian and when I started preschool, the teachers were upset that I could not speak English.
Jose Macias student majors in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. He's used his job experience to help him succeed at school, and found a support group with the Chicanx and Latinx community.
Chris Nosala earned his PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from UC Davis in June 2018. He researched giardia in Scott Dawson’s lab, where he mentored a number of undergraduates. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research in 2018, and was recognized as a strong promoter of women in STEM, and as a confidence builder among his undergraduate mentees. He is currently a postdoc at Indiana University – Bloomington.