What inspired you to start FirstGen Society?

When co-founder and my husband, Anthony, had the idea of connecting first generation college students together on a national scale, we had a shared vision.

We saw an opportunity where we could serve a student community that has been near and dear to our hearts and a need to connect these students and alumni together to help drive engagement and connect them to their schools and communities. We also saw an opportunity where we could collaborate and partner with other colleges, universities, and organizations that serve first-gen students to align resources and work together to better serve this student and alumni community.


Are you a first generation college student?

I can identify with being a first generation college student.

Being a Korean adoptee, I had the amazing opportunity of reuniting with my Korean birth family. I learned that my birth parents did not go to college. In addition, I relate to first-gen students in other ways as a Korean adoptee. Growing up I struggled with identity because I looked different from my adoptive family and I could not relate to the Korean culture. In part, I understand what it's like to feel different or struggle with finding my place among others. 


What advice would you give to incoming first generation college students in their first year of college?

Own your identity and be proud of who you are. It took me a long time to understand that. I've learned that courage and authenticity comes from owning our stories and embracing who we are. 


What is your favorite quote?

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt


If your life was a book, what would it be titled and why?

"Just keep swimming," quoted by one of my favorite Disney characters, Dory, from Finding Nemo. It is a motto I live by every day both personally and professionally. For me, it means to keep moving forward one step at a time by making marginal changes or adjustments in my life. 

In life, it's inevitable that we're faced with adversities, uncertainties, and setbacks. Yet, it's important we do not give up and we continue to stay resilient for the purpose of reaching our destination or goal and for the purpose of our future development and growth.


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