Meet Veronica Paez-Degeller & Abigail Ricketts – UConn Center for Career Development, Founder of UConn Stamford First GenClub

UConn’s student population currently has a significant number of first-generation students, with 50% enrolled on the Stanford campus alone. With their own challenges and adversity, first-generation students Veronica Paes de Geller and Abigail Ricketts build a stronger and more connected first-generation community and confront their struggles. I formed a club.

Tara Malone: ​​Please introduce yourself — whatever you want to share about your background, including name, major, grade, and current career orientation.

Veronica Paes Degerer: Hello! I major in sociology and have finished my first year. I am a first generation college student. In other words, both parents attend a four-year college and do not have a bachelor’s degree. My parents emigrated from Paraguay to the United States to give their children better educational opportunities.

Abigail Ricketts: Hello! I am a 2024 class psychology major. As a recent immigrant from Jamaica, I aim to be a clinical child psychologist and take advantage of all the educational opportunities here at UConn.

TM: How did you get to the campus? And how did these experiences enrich your professional development?

AR: As a member of the Honors Program, I participated in their PATH mentorship program. I coached a first grade honor student and provided guidance and support as she adapted to the program and college. These interactions have helped me improve my leadership and communication skills. As Vice President of the new First Generation Student Club, I have been given the opportunity to utilize and improve these skills.

VP: As a commuter, I find it harder to get involved than I initially thought. However, I do my best to attend events that are on my schedule. One of my favorite memories of on-campus activities was attending one of Briana Walston’s snacks and chats at the Stanford Campus Affinity Collaborative and Community Center. She is a great supporter of our club!

TM: Please tell us more about FirstGenClub.

AR: First-Generation Student Club is for campus students who are lost on a college trip and need a place to find a supportive and understanding community as well as to know about available resources. It is a resource. Those on campus. Some of the first students in the family to go to college are at a disadvantage compared to their potential peers because they cannot receive guidance from their parents during this trip. There is also a student. As of the fall of 2021, we recognize that 50% of our campus undergraduate students are first generation students. We want to improve the university experience of this population. So far, we have hosted events with former 1st generation student speakers and collaborated with other clubs for larger events such as 1st generation panel events. Easy-to-access scholarship documentsFinal advice, scholarship advice, course registration tips, and more.

TM: How did you come up with the idea of ​​starting this student club?

VP: In the fall of 2021, I enrolled in Dr. Banyan’s introductory sociology course. Much of our class discussions were related to our struggle as college students, especially minorities and first generation students. We talked about a variety of topics, including high textbook prices, food insecurity, and the difficulty of finding student resources on campus. With the help of Dr. Banyan, Abbey and I have launched a first-generation student club with the goal of providing a community for students, raising awareness of campus resources, and meeting their success needs. rice field.

TM: You are starting this organization on the UConnStamford campus. Is this available on other campuses? How can students participate?

AR: The UConnStorrs campus has a first generation student group. This is a first year program that provides support from professors, colleagues, or staff. There are also events and host panels that specifically cater to the needs of first-generation students to help you navigate the university well. More information can be found here on how UConn supports first-generation students.

VP: Personally, I’m not involved in any first-generation student organizations other than UConnStamford. I know there are many resources available to first generation students, including the Career Development Center.

With regard to student participation, anyone interested in becoming a member of our club can join our roster. UConntact page. When you join our roster, you will receive a club email to stay up to date on meetings, materials, and club information. Also on Instagram, @firstgenuconnstamford. The latest information is also posted there!

TM: What are the goals of the first generation club?

AR: Our club aims to be a space to connect students and form a community where students can identify and relate to each other.

VP: We are currently expanding our leadership staff! We want to be a Tier II club in the fall semester of 2022, giving us more freedom to organize our events. Abbey and I are planning great things like a welcome reception for first generation students and a celebration of National First Generation Student Day in November. We would also like to host a FAFSA Application Guidance Event where students can bring in FAFSA documents and receive assistance in submitting information. We are looking forward to the school supplies distribution event that has been postponed to the next semester. Overall, we want to establish a strong first generation community for our students.

TM: What advice do you have for students looking to start a student club or other leadership opportunity?

AR: I would like to advise students to participate in the efforts they are passionate about. Being a leader in every field requires hard work and dedication. Therefore, it is useful when you spend time on the purpose you believe in. Next, build relationships with faculty and staff to support your efforts and seek guidance. ..

VP: Find a faculty member who can support you and share your club’s values ​​on this journey. I am very grateful to Dr. Banyan for guiding me to the club leaders. Talk to your friends and classmates about your mission. They may be happy to help! Contact Student Activities to learn more about other logistics. Gail Rikie and Shona Evans have also been very helpful in our journey as club leaders. They will guide you through everything. Finally, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Meet Veronica Paez-Degeller & Abigail Ricketts – UConn Center for Career Development, Founder of UConn Stamford First GenClub Meet Veronica Paez-Degeller & Abigail Ricketts – UConn Center for Career Development, Founder of UConn Stamford First GenClub

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