Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Devonna Begay

Devonna Begay1

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?  Tell us about your story, and what you think has helped you succeed so far at UP?

Attending college was always a goal of mine since I was a child. I worked hard by applying to summer programs and scholarships throughout high school to get into college. I am fortunate enough to have a supporting family but since my parents have little experience of attending college I felt like I was on my own. The first semester of my freshman year I felt like I didn't belong but I reached out for help and became a mentee with the FGEN program at the University of Portland. I learned that I did have a purpose and since then have grown to enjoy college and strive to do my best

What does it mean for you to be a part of the FGEN community and to be a FGEN Student Ambassador at UP?

To be part of the FGEN community means that I have people that I can relate with and that I have a stronger support system. I know we will all have similar experiences and struggles but we can all rely on one another for support. Being and FGEN ambassador means that I have a community to turn to and I am able to help other people like me who are the first in their families to go to college.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

My advice to first generation students at UP who are facing challenges is to reach out. I honestly had the hardest time reaching out because I like to keep to myself but having a community who can help you and connect you to resources is that best option for success no matter how big or small that struggle may seem.

Has a mentor played a role in your experience at UP?  How so?

When I first joined the FGEN program I was a mentee. My mentor played a huge role in connecting me to resources that I did not know were available when I was struggling the first semester of my freshman year. She could relate to the struggles that I was going through like being homesick or even decisions about transferring schools. Knowing that someone is going through the same thing that you are going through and for them to provide me with the right resources has helped me navigate the waters of college.

What resources have been significant, meaningful, or helpful for you during your UP experience?

The Shepard Academic Resource Center, the tutoring at the Learning commons, and attending office hours have been helpful to me.

Connect with Devonna