CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University announced that several local educators will tell their experiences as the first members of their families to attend college at a WT event at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening in Legacy Hall inside the Jack B. Kelley Student Center.

According to officials, WT’s Office of Engaged Citizenship will host a “We Are One” talk in which area educators, who are featured in the book “First-Gen Stories for Success” by WT Professor of Communication Dr. George Pacheco Jr., will tell their stories.

Pacheco collected essays from several of his WT colleagues and scholars across the country to create the book that discusses “the balance between a student’s goals and their family’s plans, the importance of student organizations and mentorship, and how to create a path to success, among other topics,” a WT release read.

“When I looked around, there was nothing available like this,” said Pacheco, the founding adviser for WT’s F1RSTGEN student organization and himself a first-generation student. “I want this book to help these students find their way by learning from the authors’ own stories. I hope the students see themselves in those shoes.”

Pacheco along with the following area educators will join in on a panel discussion:

  • Dr. Shanna Peeples, WT’s John G. O’Brien Distinguished Chair in Education;
  • Dr. Nancy Garcia, assistant professor of media communication;
  • Dr. Lisa Garza, associate professor of sociology;
  • Jonathan Cordova, program coordinator for Study Abroad and Nationally Competitive Scholarship; and
  • Melodie Graves, associate director of academic advising at Amarillo College.

“This event presents a valuable opportunity for faculty and staff to gain insights into serving first-generation students and for first-generation students to better understand and navigate their academic journey,” said Angela Allen, director of WT’s Office for Engaged Citizenship.

Officials reminded the community that WT offers several programs and services for first-generation students including the F1RSTGEN student organization.

Officials added that in March 2022, the Center for First-Generation Student Success recognized WT as a 2022-23 First-Gen Forward cohort.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.