Stories: Students

Voicing My Dreams - Divine Otico

April 23, 2019
Divine Otico '19 Cognitive Science

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.

Finding Common Ground in Food - Lucero Morales

March 08, 2019
Lucero Morales '20 Biotechnology

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.

Fire in the Belly - Shiang-Wan Chin

January 17, 2019
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.

Discovering my voice at UC Davis - Jennifer La

January 11, 2019
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.

Refuge - Jessica Ison

December 05, 2018
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.

Failures Are The Best Motivation - Miguel Paulo Flores

November 01, 2018
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!

A Journey through Five Colleges - Dave Ivan Cruz

October 19, 2018
Dave Ivan Cruz '19 International Relations

Tell us about your first generation background. Where did you grow up and what is your family history? What is unique about your story?  

An Ode to Mom and Dad - Ariana Nagainis

October 11, 2018
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.