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December 18, 2019

First-person perspectives from first-generation college students: Paloma Barba, of SVSU

The following is a part of a series of first-person narratives from SVSU students who are part of the first generation of their families to attend college. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find links to additional student stories.

The following is a first-person perspective from SVSU student Paloma Barba:

With the support of my family — and now a statewide organization that recognizes my leadership qualities — I am hoping to follow in my older sister’s footsteps as a first-generation college graduate.

My name is Paloma Barba. I am a senior business management major from Detroit. I recently earned the Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan's Future Leaders Scholarship. I was one of nine Michigan college students to earn the $1,000 scholarship. I was surprised because I honestly did not expect to receive the scholarship since it was very competitive.

To apply for the scholarship, I wrote an essay explaining why I believe I deserved the scholarship as well as why it was important for Hispanic students to earn higher education degrees.

I wanted to apply so I could help finance my college education. I come from a large family, and therefore my parents cannot support me financially. I saw an opportunity, and I seized it.

The scholarship will help me pursue my dreams, along with the support of my family. My parents have always encouraged my siblings and I to go to college and learn because knowledge is power.

My older sister, Berenice, inspired me to attend college. Berenice is a graduate student at SVSU now, and she received her bachelor's degree in business administration earlier this year. My older sister was the first one in the family to graduate with a bachelor's. I feel like she deserves most of the credit for my success because she basically paved the way for everyone in our family and, most importantly, for my siblings and me.

I just hope that, after I graduate, I can offer the same support that has been offered to me.

The following are links to additional first-person perspectives from first-generation college students:

Talia Pruiett

Jessalyn Gaskin

Lindsey Mead

Mitch Hughes