AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The panel discussion ‘We Are One’ will feature many speakers that help contribute to ‘First- Gen Stories for Success’, a book written by West Texas A&M University Dr. George Pacheco Jr.

The book, written by Pacheco, collects essays of several WTAMU faculty and scholars across the country to tell their stories of being a first-generation college student.

“So, the definition we use on campus is that if neither your mom or dad or the person that’s a guardian to you have a bachelor’s degree, then you are first-generation students,” said WT Program Coordinator for Study Abroad Jonathan Cordova. “That’s different from other students because other students have that support from family members because they have that college experience. And we don’t.”

Angela Allen is the director of Engaged Citizenship at WTAMU and also a first-generation college student. She said that this panel will benefit students and faculty.

“For faculty and staff, it’ll hopefully provide a realization of some of the things that they could do to help our students be more successful. It will also provide a little bit of understanding about why their students may do some of the things that they do,” said Allen.

Allen talked more about her experience as a first-generation college student.

‘”I was told I was going to college when we were little, if you’d ask us, what are you going to do when you grow up, we would say I’m going to college. Now, how to get there. And what college really was, we had no clue,” said Allen. “So, it was kind of one of those things that we had to rely on somebody else my saving grace was my oldest sister, Lisa Cherry.

Yadhira Avalos is a current first-generation WTAMU student who has made many connections with other first-generation students on campus with the help of WTAMU’s ‘F1RSTGEN’ organization.

“So ‘F1RSTGEN’ is basically a club here on campus specifically centered around helping first-generation college students. So, we do lots of socials. And what’s really cool about our club is that it isn’t major specific, so we’ve known a broad range of majors that we all come together and just basically try and help each other out,” said Avalos.

Avalos added that having connections with other first-generation students brings a sense of family on campus.

The event is taking place tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in the Legacy Hall in Jack B. Kelly Student Center.

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