First Gen


In 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration. This year First-Generation College Day is on November 8, 2021.

At St. Philip’s College, we are so proud of our First-Generation College Students that we are celebrating all week! A first-generation college student is a student whose parents/or guardians did not complete a college degree. If that, is you, come by the Sutton Learning Center, Suite 102, to get your t-shirt!

Here is some advice from a few folks who have been in your shoes.

Meet First-Gens, Like You!


Liz Castillo, Director of Student Success

One of the things I am most proud of is being a first-generation college graduate. It wasn't always easy and I felt lost more than a few times but I kept asking questions and I am so glad I did. My grandparents weren't even able to go to school so I think it's amazing that two generations later, I have a graduate degree.


  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Seek help
  • Go to tutoring
  • Always go to class


Christina Cortez, Dean for Student Success

I am extremely proud to be a first-generation college student.  The navigation of college is not easy however anything is achievable if you believe you are capable. To this date…I am overwhelmed with the impact I have made in both my life and others by going to college. What I am most proud of is the foundation that I have established for my children and their futures.


  • There will never be the right time…therefore the time is now.
  • Put your pride aside and ask away.
  • Find an advocate(s) and stay in contact with them.
  • There is always light at the end of the tunnel...never give up.  Ask for help.


Chris Beardsall, Dean for Academic Success

I’m proud of being a first-generation graduate because it helped me overcome fears and self–doubt, as well as opening doors to me I never thought imaginable.  When I dropped out of high school at the age of 16, to work and help my parents financially, I never imagined I’d go back to school and earn a graduate degree. However, I would have never made it through had I not taken advantage of as many of the support programs as the colleges had to offer, like tutoring, and scholarships.


  • Don’t be too proud to ask for help
  • Take advantage of support programs
  • Take advantage of student life activities
  • Go to class!!


Dr. Tomeka C. Wilson, Academic Program Director

As a First-Gen, I understood the importance of URGENCY and committing to complete because it was never about me. It was for generations to come, including YOU.


  • Know that you belong, and KEEP GOING!
  • Progress only stops when you do!

First Gen Zoom Background

Share that you are a proud First Gen College Student by displaying your Zoom background. Download the image below.

Zoom Background