MCC students share their first-gen stories, celebrate first-gen day

Published by The Bee News

November 8, 2023

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MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave Community College is celebrating National First-Generation College Students Day. A first-generation (first-gen) college student is someone who is the first in their family to attend a higher education institution. At MCC, more than 70% of students are first-generation college students, and many of the College employees were also first-gen. Students like Le Ann Flores Gomez, Lake Havasu City Campus, and Martha Aguilar, Kingman Campus, are first-generation students. Aguilar is double majoring in chemistry and mathematics, and has been attending MCC since 2022. She decided to attend MCC because she realized her family sacrificed a lot for her to have opportunities they didn’t. “As a first-generation college student, navigating college and classes was extremely rough at first. Growing up I knew that education (at MCC) was there but I always assumed it wasn’t for me because the system wasn’t built for people like me. I saw my mother work two jobs with a middle school education as an immigrant to provide for me and my siblings. I felt that something had to change, so I started going for the opportunities that are available and speaking up in classes and making relationships with professors to better understand how I could improve,” Aguilar said.

When she first started MCC, Aguilar was quiet and didn’t know other students, staff or faculty, but she became involved with various student clubs and has served as President of the Science Club, Student Activities Council President, Ovis Arts & Literary Club President and a Psychology Club member. She is also the student representative for the ASU Kickstart Program for Latinos in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Flores is majoring in Liberal Arts and decided to attend MCC because she earned a scholarship from the college and decided to put it to use. Being a first-generation student, she found it difficult to navigate college on her own but she found support through her parents and found it was okay to ask MCC faculty and staff for help.“I feel proud of being the first one in my family to attend college because I’m able to experience things and be a role model to my sisters, nephews, and niece because I wanted them to attend college and get a degree,” Flores said. “My family is very proud of me for being the first
generation to graduate by getting an associate degree. If my parents are happy for their first daughter going to college, then I’m happy for myself.” Students who need help navigating college, can visit the Student Success Centers (SSC) on campus. The Student Success Center can help students with tutoring services, coaching services, which can help student learn life skills that can help them become successful in life and in school, academic study skills, workshops and more. To learn more about SSC, visit Mohave.edu/Student-Success-Center. In fact, MCC Director of Student Success Kay Lynn Trybus knows exactly what it’s like to be first- gen, because she is a first-gen. Kay Lynn dropped out of high school at the age of 16 when her main goal in life was to help support her family. She was later encouraged to contact MCC to finish her education and found her passion was helping other students overcome challenges. Also among the many MCC employees who are first-gen is Director of Financial Aid Lisa Downey. She was a working, single mother of three children when she started college and found her path to success helping students navigate financial aid. MCC employees know what it’s like to take that first step toward improving one’s life through higher education, which research shows is a primary path to boosting a person’s career earnings potential. MCC is now enrolling for the 2024 Spring and Summer semesters. Spring classes begin January 8 and Summer classes begin May 28. Apply for free at Apply.mohave.edu.

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