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First Generation alumni impart wisdom

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) held its First Generation event through Airmeet on Oct. 3. The event held a meeting with three Bradley alumni who were first-generation students.

Jhoanna Vega-Rocha, assistant director of the ODI, hosted the event for first-generation students who may need assistance getting accustomed to the college experience.

“Knowing what resources are available and knowing they need certain steps to prepare for what’s next after Bradley,”Vega-Rocha said. “Building this community matters for first-generation students to know they are not the only ones.”

During the event, Vega-Rocha focused on what worried first-generation students the most about coming to Bradley.

“Not having the network, the social capital where they know someone who went to college,” Vega-Rocha said. “For many first-generation students, they are working on their journey alone and may not have a college counselor or a school counselor in high school.”

She also asked the panelists what their answer was.

“My biggest fear for leaving college, in general, was leaving my parents,” Chanel Moton said. “I wanted to stay close to home and try to go to college.”

Moton, a graduate in 2015, majored in psychology and minored in studio art. For six years now, Moton has worked as a math teacher at Lavizzo Elementary School in Chicago teaching grades sixth through eighth.

Markist Booker, one of the panelists, graduated from Bradley in 2015, majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. Booker was also involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and The Scout. He is now a corporate communications coordinator at Harley-Davidson.

“I appreciated being a part of the speech team, because not only are you learning presentation skills, you are also building relationships with others, and a lot of those skills I learned have been helpful in my career as working for corporations,” Booker said.

Marianna Rodriguez, a junior psychology and Spanish double major, is a first-generation student who attended the event. Rodriguez said she has not joined any other events in previous years, but she was glad to make the most out of this one.

“Take advantage of all the resources your university has to offer,” Rodriguez said. “How the event said, we’re paying for all these resources, and we [first-generation students] need to start using them.”

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