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Testimonials

first-gen-logo-final.pngWe are First-Gen

We would like to invite Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy professionals to inspire others by sharing their story as a first-generation college student. Identifying faculty, staff, students and alumni who themselves are first-generation college students will allow our campus community to discover how many first-generation role models exist throughout the Rangel College of Pharmacy.
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"I am a first generation college student from McAllen, Tx. My parents both had me at the age of 15, and so my father had to drop out and begin to work, while my mom also began to work but managed to finish high school. I am the oldest of 3 and am so fortunate to be in the position I am currently in to earn a Doctorate degree from this amazing university. It feels amazing knowing that I am the first in my family to go to college and pave the way for my siblings and future generations. My family, more specifically my mother, have done a great job supporting and loving me unconditionally. I am very thankful to be blessed with great role models who raised me to be the man I am today. ”

Ociel Salazar

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2025
First-Generation College Student

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"I live in a small border town in South Texas called Rio Grande City. I was born and raised there, and it was very rare to see or hear about anyone going to a professional school and returning to our community. Growing up, my parents and grandparents pushed me to do my best in school because they saw a lot of potential in me because I loved to read, learn, and enjoyed challenges. That motivation and support I received from them allowed me to set very high goals for myself. I received my bachelor’s in biology with a minor in communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. It feels like an honor to be representing my family as the first person to come to a professional school with the goal of returning home to be able to better those in my community. I am extremely proud of myself for working hard to help my family and better them in the future. I am also humbled by my family because my parents only have a high school level education, but they did everything they could to show me and my sibling that college was important. They wanted us to understand that we needed to have goals for ourselves so we could have less worries and live comfortably compared to how they lived growing up. I wanted to be able to do more than my family was ever able or allowed to do because of the financial and cultural restraints they had. Being the first person in my family to do so only gives me more motivation because I want to prove to everyone that has supported me and believed in me that I can and will continue to push myself until I reach success.”

Norma Mayorga

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2025
First-Generation College Student

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"I was born in Pakistan and I am the youngest of four siblings. My parents brought us to the United States when I was five years old. Neither of my parents graduated high school but they motivated me to focus on my education. Growing up I was always interested in how the human body works and so I pursued a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences to learn about my interests. After earning my degree I wanted to advance myself in the field of Pharmacy because I was fascinated by how medications can improve the quality and quantity of life for people. Being a first generation student, I utilized the resources available to guide me on the right path to pursue my passion of Pharmacy. I am extremely motivated to do well and succeed in my career because my parents have made sacrifices for me to ensure that I achieve the highest level of education. I would advise other first-generation students to work hard and stay motivated to surpass their goals to make themselves and their families proud of their accomplishments.”

Monis Aslam

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2024
First-Generation College Student

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"My journey has definitely had its highs and lows. Undergrad was very challenging for me as a first-generation student. I lacked guidance and certain academic skills and had to find my way. I finally got the hang of it all my senior year of college. I see myself in the position I am now and constantly think of how I’m currently living in my prayers. Whenever I do feel a hint of discouragement, I think to myself “I’m literally sitting in my blessings.” I also, think my military experience has allowed me to develop even more discipline and alter the way I handle the stresses presented in school. As far as pharmacy school goes, I’m doing pretty well. My advice would be to never give up. It sounds cliché, but praying and determination will get you through! Finding a good support system also be it family, friends, mentors, etc. matters. Lastly, always work on yourself. Your personal growth in all areas of your life matters, ALWAYS.”

Monét Giles

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2025
First-Generation College Student

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"As a first generation student, both in getting my bachelors degree as well as getting my doctorate in pharmacy, I have only continued to grow as a person, as an Aggie, and as a professional. In undergrad at A&M, I was not confident and didn’t know how to even approach the world. Being at a huge university and being in a sea of thousands, it was hard not to feel like I was just another kid with dreams that might not be attainable. However, in my short time here at the College of Pharmacy, I have had so many faculty and staff to look up to, to guide me, and help me become the leader and young professional that I am today. I can only hope that the rest of my time here at the College of Pharmacy will continue to shape me as the successful pharmacist I wish to be.”

Jennifer Narsh

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2024
First-Generation College Student

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"As a first-generation college student, the only valuable thing in this life to me was an education. My parents worked to instill honesty, integrity, work ethic, and compassion to my brother and I. Today, as I get closer to my PharmD, I am grateful for being a first-generation student because while my path was difficult, I am confident that it has made me become a more empathetic, culturally competent future healthcare provider. By highlighting the voices of first-generation students in healthcare, we can change the narrative from one of deprivation to one of empowerment!”

Eza Ali

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2022
First-Generation College Student

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"As a second year student here at the Texas A&M College of Pharmacy, I love to be involved on campus and try to help in anyway I can to promote the profession of pharmacy. I currently serve as the President Elect for SNPhA and Vice Regant Interal for Kappa Psi. I am glad that I made the decision to join the A&M family. At a young age, my parents taught me to always put my best foot forward and to learn to have confidence in whatever I do. Since then, I have carried that with me and always urge others to do the same. I feel great knowing that I am a first-generation student, and I hope other first-generation students view it as motivation for themselves. The advice that I give other first generation students, is to continue what you’re doing and make your family and friends proud. In the end, it will all be worth it and it will bring nothing but joyous moments that are shared with loved ones.”

Jennifer Nwosu

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2023
First-Generation College Student

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"I focused most of my time in high school obsessing with grades and the organizations I was involved in. I applied to colleges, and got accepted into them, but because I was a first generation student I slipped through the cracks. I didn't have the knowledge of what steps came after applying and getting accepted into college. Once I realized that no one in my family was upset with me not attending college, I became complacent and diverted my attention to the workforce. It wasn't until I became a mom of my two daughters that I realized my decision to stop furthering my education was not only hurting myself, but it was hurting their view on the importance of secondary school as well. I entered my first semester of college the same year my youngest daughter entered pre-kindergarten. Flash forward to now, I am currently in my second year of professional school and she is thriving in third grade. Has it been easy? No, not by any means. Has it been worth it? Of course. My kids think I am "Super Mom" and are proud to tell their friends and teachers that their mom is going to be a pharmacist and take them to Disney World when she graduates. What makes me happy is that they are both now starting to talk about what they want to do when they finish high school, and it includes college.”

Shelby Martinez

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2023
First-Generation College Student

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"Although neither of my parents received a college degree, they have supported and motivated me through every step and stage of my journey. Knowing the lengths that my parents went to to support me has given me the motivation to work hard in everything I do. I am driven to do well in school so I can obtain knowledge that will be used to help save lives, and make a true difference. Through my organizational involvement, educational pursuits, and future career, I hope to inspire others, just as my patients, peers, and mentors have inspired me to this day. My experience as a first-generation student has shown me that no matter your background, if you work hard, you can achieve your goals. I would encourage other first-generation students to continue to make a difference in their communities by bettering themselves. The education they receive is invaluable and can be used to better future generations.”

Brooke Spann

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2022
First-Generation College Student

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"Being a first-generation college student, my mother always made sure to teach me how important getting an education was, since it opens many doors in life to become successful. I loved her push to do my best in school, but I always found myself having a natural passion to learn and succeed without having to be pushed into it. This drive has shaped who I am, and has put me on this path to success that I am currently on. I didn’t come from much growing up, so another huge motivator was knowing that if I became successful I would be able to take care of my family, and be able to pay my mom back for all the sacrifices she made for my siblings and I while growing up. With every new thing I learn or experience as a first-generation college student, I know that I’ll be able to pass down that knowledge to the rest of the members of my family and guide them towards their own path to success.”

Timothy Johnson

Professional Student Pharmacist
Class of 2022
First-Generation College Student

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"I grew up in a small East Texas community where few people ventured out of the town after graduation from high school and even fewer went to college. No one in my family had ever attended college. It took courage, grit and determination to leave behind what was familiar and comfortable to pursue a college education. I enrolled in a large university and moved to a campus that had a student population that was three times the population of my home town! This was somewhat intimidating and made for an eye-opening transition. The driving force for my completion of pharmacy school was my motivation to provide for myself in a career that would make an impact on others. Growing up I saw how the lack of a college education impacted my mother and caused hardships for her. I was determined not to take the same path. Along the way, she and my dad were my greatest supporters and they lived their dreams through me. Thirty years later, that still is a great and awesome benefit of my education. My mom still speaks with such pride of my accomplishments. I am grateful I had the determination after high school graduation to not take the safe, comfortable path but to aspire for more. I am also grateful that I was blessed with loving parents who supported and encouraged me each step of the way and now get to share in my accomplishments.”

Carolyn Mathews, RPh

Director of Experiential Education
Rangel College of Pharmacy
First-Generation College Student

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"I am the first out of my immediate family to earn a Bachelor's Degree. I went on to earn my Master's and Doctoral Degree from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and Texas A&M University – Kingsville. All 3 of my degrees focused around education and educational leadership. I clearly remember my mom making a goal for herself to earn her GED at the same time I was earning my high school degree. I was so proud to watch her walk the commencement stage. Education has always been a passion for me and I knew as a small child that I wanted to become a teacher and mentor/counselor for others as a career. It is nice to be a role model for my nieces and nephews as well as my own children. Soon, we will have 3 more college graduates in the family as my nieces and nephews are in the final stages of earning their own college degree. I strive to make a path to help my family and students reach their own career and educational goals. I think this drive comes from me trying to figure this out for myself and realizing how difficult this journey was as a first generation student. To be a mentor and a role model will always be one of my greatest accomplishments.”

Amanda Galindo, EdD

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Rangel College of Pharmacy
First-Generation College Student

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"I was the first out of my family to earn my Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, and Professional Licensure. After I obtained my degrees, my mom challenged herself to pursue a four-year degree along with my sister-in-law and they both successfully achieved their degrees. It was the most amazing feeling when my sister-in-law thanked me for inspiring her to tackle something that always seemed out of reach. She said that seeing me pursue a degree while being a mom myself without parents to help me pay for or navigate the college experience convinced her that she could do the same. Today I realize that me pursuing a college degree had a positive effect on people around me and that by my sister-in-law being the first out of her family to obtain a four-year degree she would also inspire people in her circle to reach for what they think might not be possible for them. I learned that by being the first in your family to succeed in college, you push people to set similar goals by simply working towards your own.”

Amanda M. Galvan, LPC

Director of Student Success
Rangel College of Pharmacy
First-Generation College Student

Read more First-Gen stories from out Aggie Pharmacist Alum here.