Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Adriana Cardoso Reyes

Second Advisor

Marcela Mendoza


The Foundations Scholarship (FS) is a program at WMU that provides first-generation students with the support, resources, and community to succeed while in college. The fifth-generation cohort of Foundation Scholars decided to write a joint thesis in order to shine a light onto how beneficial programs like this one are to first-generation college students. The goal of this project was to reflect on our backgrounds and whatever obstacles we have faced in the past that have led us to where we are today. Most of us decided to write about our childhoods, our teenage years, coming to college, and how the Foundation Scholarship helped us.

I followed this general outline when writing my paper. I discuss my parental background and my upbringing in the city of Chicago. This includes explaining the realities of growing up in a major city and an analysis of my exposure to gang and gun violence, drugs, and alcohol. I also discuss having to overcome these obstacles in order to become the first person in my family to graduate from college. This paper additionally talks about the obstacles I faced as a first-generation student, specifically in the College of Aviation. I reflect on how isolating and discouraging my experiences were in this environment. This serves as a way to highlight the dissonance between the reputation the COA brags about and the reality of being in their flight program.

Lastly, I talk about how the FS group provided refuge from the feelings of disillusionment that being a part of the COA brought on. I explain the positive impact of the Foundation Scholarship program on my entire college career. Additionally, I talk about just how beneficial programs like this one can be to students. They can be what makes the difference between a student dropping out and a student being able to be the first in their family to graduate.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted