Yuri Hernández Osorio

Yuri Hernández OsorioCurrent Position: Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion Programs: Student Activities

Alma Mater: University of Michigan

Major/Undergraduate field of study: Social Work, MSW

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?

I luckily had the opportunity to not only be first gen but be the first in my family to attend graduate school. I ended up going to the University of Michigan for my masters degree and it was a huge change moving cross country and having no one I knew in the area. Definitely the most challenging experience I have gone through but that experience helped me grow in ways I am so grateful for today.

Are there any unique challenges you faced as a First Generation student?

Being a student of color in Ann, Arbor, MI was not a walk through the park. I faced a lot of adversity, racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Fortunately, my family was extremely supportive regardless of the distance between us and having no experience themselves in navigating graduate school. I ended up finding community at Michigan and relied heavily on friends for support. Without my friends and family I would have not be able to survive that experience. I look back and know that without a community behind me I would not have accomplished graduating. I think it also helped that I took leadership roles on campus to help create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students like me.

Do you have any advice for FGEN students at UP that are facing challenges?

I would advise student to speak up and to not let others people's narratives of you define who you are and what you can accomplish. Instead of seeing yourself as the first one to go into this space as negative thing. Focus on the strengths you bring and what it took for you to get where you are today. You are worthy, your community will benefit from you taking up space, and your family/support system are huge assets in your success so do not forget to include them in your experience.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?  How so?

Yes! Without mentorship I would not have been able to advance in my academic career. At the end of the day I strongly believe, everyone benefits from mentorship, and of course if a mentor looks like you it helps even more! Though, do not dismiss mentorship that comes from folks outside your identifies. I would not have know how to get into graduate school if it was not for mentors giving insider knowledge on how to navigate that process.

How do you feel your experience prepared you, both professionally and personally?

Because I took such active leadership roles and always recognized the privilege I had... that I was in a space that historically my community and people that look like me do not occupy. I always tired to make sure institutions were thinking and changing to better serve their communities and get more folks in those space. It really prepared me to launch my career in doing this work myself at Universities.

Connect with Yuri