First Generation Students

First-generation college students have a lot to be proud of as they become the first in their families to complete a 4-year college degree. There are also stresses that other students may not experience. At GU, we have support and community through our Unity Multicultural Education Center (UMEC) to guide students to success and graduation. View the videos below as four first-generation students tell their stories of becoming a Zag.



“I Belong Here”—Kyle from Aiea, HI

Kyle was drawn to Gonzaga because of the sense of community and has found himself growing from the support and experiences he has gained.


“The Right Choice”—Charé from East St. Louis, IL

Charé is proud of her time at Gonzaga as well as the example she sets for her family by being the first to graduate from college.

Charé graduated from Gonzaga in 2015 and currently works in Chicago for City Year, an organization that helps at risk students succeed in school.


“Pay it Forward”—Rene from Tacoma, WA

Rene credits mentors for helping him reach success. At Gonzaga he learned to be a leader so that he may give back to his community and support young people from similarly difficult backgrounds.

Rene graduated in 2014 and is currently teaching high school and coaching where he grew up.


“Become the Best Person”—Yachana from Reedsport, OR

Yachana chose Gonzaga because of the people and, through her time at Gonzaga, has felt supported by the community to become the best person she can be.

Yachana graduated from Gonzaga in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She currently has a biomedical internship at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, and she is conducting clinical research for a Family Medicine Physician in the area of Addiction Medicine. She plans to pursue medical school.