First Generation Scholars Arrive at Loras

Sergio Perezv, First Generation Scholars Program Director
Sergio Perez (’13)

This fall, Loras College welcomed its first cohort of First Generation Scholars to campus. The First Generation Scholars program is directed by Sergio Perez (’13), Director of Intercultural Programs Office. Over 30 first year and transfer students will be participating in this program as Loras shifts its attention to better support first generation college students and their families.

All participating students receive a $1500 scholarship award beyond their initial merit award to help address what is often a financial gap for first generation college students and families. In addition to the financial support, the program hopes to bridge support networks and offer unique co-curricular experiences for participants in an effort to provide academic, emotional and social support.

With more applications than anticipated submitted for the limited opportunity, special attention was given to each applicant who applied for the program to ensure the most qualified students were offered the opportunity to join the program. The current cohort consists of students from various states as far away as California and with various social identities reflecting a diverse and equitable lens in recruitment efforts.

“Being a first generation student, I hope to pave the path for the next generation in my family. Something that keeps me motivated to finish college is knowing there really isn’t anything for me back at home. I understand my family will always be there for me, but I would have to work some job I would certainly hate. By completing college, I open more opportunities for myself financially. Only then will I be able to give back to those who’ve helped me. I hope to have my diploma after my four years here at Loras.”  – Emanuel Rivera (’21)

“The things I want to achieve being a first gen student here at Loras is to bring a positive impact to the community. Through the Launch into Loras program, I realized I would like to do a lot of volunteering in the city of Dubuque while studying Athletic training and competing on the track and field team. Ultimately, I want to make my time here at Loras worthwhile. As the first in my immediate family to attend college it is already a big achievement. However, I want to be the first to complete college and I know that this is more than obtainable at such a wonderful college.”    – Kayla Weatherly (’21)

As both Emmanuel and Kayla begin their first year at Loras they’ll be providing critical feedback to further enhance the program and pave a path not only for their families as the first to go to college but also for future Duhawks who consider Loras as their college of choice in the years ahead.