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Diana Salgado-Huicochea



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?

Being the first one in my family to attend college is actually quite difficult, it feels like being placed in a foreign country: not knowing the language nor how it functions. Although you do receive endlessly and amazing support from your family it is not the support a first-time freshman can survive college with.

There are many aspects of college they can't comprehend such as the rigorous academic workload, the financial aspect, and college life in general. Especially for me, I am from Portland so my mom always wanted me to be home to spend time with her or go grocery shopping like how it had been in high school. It took many explanations and showing her all my assignments before she finally realized the drastic change.

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

Being part of the FGEN community at UP has helped me navigate the college stress a FGEN student experiences. I have built a wonderful supporting and loving community in this program and made great friendships. To be a FGEN Student Ambassador this year is a privilege, I get to work with students that are in my same shoes. I know how they feel and it is truly an honor to mentor them and motivate each other. As a bonus, I make great friendships with them!

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

My advice to FGEN students is advocating for yourself and acknowledging it is okay to not know everything. Ask for help!

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

 My high school teacher Lisa Madzelan (a UP Alumni) and Sarina Sandstrom both played a mentor role in my experience. Whenever I encountered a problem they were my wonderful resources. I think having mentors is extremely important especially as a FGEN student because your resources at home are limited. 

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

Being part of the FGEN program and meeting other FGEN students helped me realized I was not the only one going through this. Getting involved in campus ministry, clubs, the Moreau Center, really helped me network my resources and meet great people.

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