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First Gen Stuents

First Gen Celebration 2018


Coming October 29th - November 2nd, 2018

In 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), the national organization that represents Federal TRIO Programs, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrator’s (NASPA) Center for First-generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration. This year, the University of Utah is proud to launch a campus wide celebration of first generation programs at the U.

This celebration is intended to highlight the history of these programs on the U’s campus while celebrating the myriad of accomplishments of the students served. The celebration will include informational program updates, panel discussions and a celebration of the Federal TRIO Programs’ 40th anniversary at the University of Utah.

Navigating college can be challenging. Navigating college when you’re the first one from your family, can feel overwhelming. The University of Utah is proud to recognize the amazing feats of our first generation students. Come out and celebrate by attending one, or all of the programs in celebration of First Gen Week at the U. We’re looking forward to seeing you!!!


Calendar of Events

Mon, Oct. 29, 2018     12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

First Gen Panel - Gould Auditorium, Marriott Library

  • This panel comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty will share their experiences as first-generation college students and also the evolution of being a first-generation professional navigating work settings.  They will talk about all of the “firsts” of being first-generation and will field your questions about being first-generation students. 

Faculty Panelists include:

  • Dr. Maria Ledesma, faculty in Educational Leadership and Policy
  • Karla Mota with the Urban Institute for Teacher Education. 

Student Panelists Include: 

  • Christina Souknarong, first generation student of Ethnic Studies and Sociology
  • Karla Ramirez, first generation and DACAmented student of Sociology with a goal to be an immigration lawyer.  



Tues, Oct. 30, 2018     12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Student Success Advocates - Sill Center Small Conference Room

Meet Your SSAs!  

  • Take a few minutes to join your Student Success Advocates for casual conversation to learn about how we can support your goals for success here at the University of Utah.  Student Success Advocates work closely with you to assist you in getting the most out of your U of U experience.  We work with you to explore, clarify interests and goals, or to overcome personal and academic challenges.  We connect you to campus resources and opportunities that enhance your experience, and support you on every step of your college journey.  Many of our Advocates were first-generation college students themselves, and we all look forward to being part of your success team!

Wed, Oct. 31, 2018     12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Beacon Scholars Halloween Celebration
Annex Building Wing C
Office of Engagement

  • The Beacon Scholars Program is opening the door for a fun and social time to all the First Generation Students around campus. Please stop by the Office of Engagement where we’ll be rocking out from beyond the grave, as your favorite musicians come back from the dead. Win prizes by participating in our costume contest for best look alike rock star, or challenge someone to a lip synch battle. If the limelight isn’t for you, enjoy some treats while taking some #gramworthy selfies in our photo booth, or explore campus by going on an Instagram scavenger hunt!

Thurs, Nov. 1, 2018     12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

TRIO Celebrates 40 years at the University of Utah - SFEBB Auditorium

  • Join the TRIO family at the University of Utah in celebrating 40 years of continuous service to low-income and first generation students on campus. Guest speakers, Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President Emeritus for the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and Kathryn Felker, former TRIO Director for the University of Utah, will discuss the TRIO movement since the inception of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that established federal TRIO Programs, to the present day. Special emphasis will be paid to the grass roots efforts that have kept TRIO programs active over the years and the changing nature of the political climate that underlies these efforts.

Fri, Nov. 2, 2018 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Resource Fair - Sill Center Large Conference Room

  • The U has a myriad of programs that support first generation students. Don’t miss the First Gen Resource fair to learn more about these departments and mingle with other undergraduate students on campus. 

Student Stories

Emilio Manuel Camu


Learn more about Emelio

Emilio Manuel Camu is a first-generation, Asian Pacific Islander, ethnic Tagalog & Bikolnon Filipino American immigrant with a BA in Communication and Asian Pacific Islander studies. He currently serves as the Adviser for Beacon Scholars, an undergraduate, first-generation student-centered cohort program focused on holistic advising, mentoring, and support at the University of Utah's Office of Engagement. As a first-generation student himself, Emilio understands the importance of higher education, community involvement, and cultural identity development. His own journey was guided through his involvement and relationships made especially in the Asian American Student Association, Black Student Union, Inter-Tribal Student Association, MEChA, Pacific Islander Student Association, and the Pilipino American Student Association. Ever since, he’s continually been involved with community organizations focusing on education, immigration, health, cultural preservation, and social justice. Emilio has been involved with the Pilipino American Association of Utah (PAAU), serving previously as its youngest President and serving currently as a Director overseeing cultural programming and scholarships. 

 Reyna Tovar-Solis


Learn more about Reyna

Hi! My name is Reyna Tovar-Solis. I am a second year double majoring in Criminology & Sociology. One of the most difficult things that I had to overcome these past couple years as a 1st gen student was attaining scholarships. It has always been difficult for me to receive any types of scholarships. I recall putting a lot of time & effort into my essays, getting to the point where I thought I would not be able to continue my studies due to my financial situation. Finally last year I became a proud recipient of the Union Student Leadership scholarship. I realized giving up wasn’t a choice anymore. Being able to have such an opportunity to be here in campus has taught me to become a stronger individual. Through assistance from programs like TRIO, I have the potential that will aid me in achieving both my academic & financial goals. I am a proud 1st gen Latina; Si Se Puede! 

Osvaldo Rios 

Learn More about Osvaldo

My name is Osvaldo Rios & I’m a second year Kinesiology major & a first generation student. One of the most difficult things I encountered upon arriving at the University of Utah was finding my place of belonging. During my first year I had to find a place where I felt I truly belonged. Being a TRIO student helped me ease into this process greatly. I participated in their summer Bridge program to get a head start on what college is really like & that help me out immensely my freshmen year. I continue the frequent visits to the TRIO office, because I have found a place where I always feel welcomed, establishing a sense of belonging. I currently work in the TRIO office where I help other 1st gen student acclimatize to the college environment. I’m proud to be a first generation, because I can proudly represent my family. 

Carla Grimaldi

 Learn More about Carla

I joined the Trio program as a freshman at the University of Utah. Now in my fifth year, I plan to earn my BA in International Trade and Commerce with a minor in Political Science in May 2018. Studying abroad was something I thought was out of my reach. However, I soon discovered the contrary were true.The Trio program has provided me with invaluable experience when I was fortunate enough to study abroad at the University of Rome in the Fall of 2015. I ate delicious food, traveled Western Europe, and most importantly gained an understanding of International Business and Italian. I later studied at Queens College in New York City as a national exchange student before returning to Salt Lake City. Trio has been by my side throughout all of it and helped along the way including my current endeavor as the Ibarra Strategy Group’s current intern in Washington D.C. Shout out to Maria Baldwin for being one of Trio’s best counselors, they have helped when it comes to tutoring, letters of recommendation and is always available to offer me help. Thanks Trio!


Last Updated: 10/29/18