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'First Cats' hold first meeting

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Courtesy Jordyn LaRue

Celes Mora displays her cap with a statement to her commitment to getting a college education by the rose garden on the east side of the Forbes Building on April 16. Mora is the first to be a college graduate in her family, and hopes she won’t be the last. First Cats aims to motivate and support students to attain a bachelor’s degree and prepare for the next step after college.

The University of Arizona First Cats held its Fall 2017 mixer to launch the university’s first-generation visibility campaign,Oct. 5. 

First Cats is a program overseen by the Office of Academic Success and Achievement intended to foster a community for first-generation Wildcats. 

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The mixer was open to all UA faculty, students and alumni. A mingle activity was held to encourage all attendants to meet and connect with fellow first-generation students. Staff from the Office of Academic Success and Achievement, Think Tank and Advising Resource Center were present.

The keynote speaker was assistant professor of school psychology Desiree Vega, Ph.D. Vega spoke of her experiences in college as a first-generation student.

“I started feeling impostor syndrome,” Vega said about her first year in college. “I didn’t feel like I belonged.”

Vega explained what helped her, offering advice to others facing the same struggles:

“Find support systems; get involved in student organizations or a cultural organization,” Vega said.

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Michelle McKelvey, associate director of First Cats, also spoke at the mixer.

“You don’t have to learn to navigate college by yourself,” McKelvey said. “Everyone’s here to support our students, and we just want that to be made clear that we’re here and we want to help."

Students can get involved with First Cats by emailing firstcats@email.arizona.edu, by calling 520-626-8847 or by visiting the lower level of the Robert L. Nugent Building.


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