Celebrating Binghamton University’s First-Generation College Students

Posted by Kim Washington on November 8, 2018

We celebrate the thousands of first-generation students and alumni who were admitted to college through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). EOP provides students with an equal opportunity to attend college, despite their financial standing and personal circumstances. As an EOP student myself, I'm grateful to the entire staff for believing in me and giving me the chance to be able to flourish and strive to be the best version of myself. EOP has given me the resources and support to reach my full potential here at Binghamton University.

Camila Orellana

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Camila, a freshman majoring in biology with a pre-health track, wants to become a surgeon one day. Coming from a low-income, single-parent household, attending college was an escape for Camila and the only way to embark on her journey in becoming a doctor.

“Although my experience in college thus far has been far from perfect, I relish every moment because I know that it will help me grow and mature. The friends I have come to find have been the best thing about college.”

Devonte Rondon

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Devonte, a senior sociology major, wants to be successful in every way possible. He’s created different pathways in his mind -- with interests in becoming a firefighter, a school counselor, or perhaps working in real estate. He's grateful for a program he was involved in during high school that helped prepare him for college and taught him how to function in a professional setting. 

"I can see myself coming closer to the man I want to be, and I feel like anyone who can survive Bing can survive in the real world. Everyone at this school is special and no one is here by accident."

Daisy Melanie Villalva

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Daisy, a freshman psychology major, wants to be a forensic psychologist. She knew being able to attend college meant being able to break society’s expectation of Hispanics and to fight for her dream.

“College is not just about getting a degree, but it’s about showing my parents that their sacrifice was worth it -- that regardless of having to struggle on my own and not being able to casually go to my parents for help, I would not give up.”

Petal Sonny

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Petal, a freshman biological sciences major, wants to be a pediatrician one day. Attending a large institution like Binghamton and having the internal struggles of finding where she belongs, and not disappointing those who’ve invested in her, has been a major obstacle to overcome.

“Attending college was not much of an option for me, but a necessity. Being a first-generation high-school graduate and African-American has been the driving force for my desire to obtain higher education.”

Angel Tatis

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Angel, a junior linguistics major, wants to become a superintendent of a NYC school one day. Although his parents’ plan for him did not include college, he enrolled anyway, despite not having a support system at home and struggling to adapt to being on his own.

“I wanted to make something of myself, and it was something that was just put into place. In high school, they said attending college was something that I had to do. It was my only option to be successful.”  

Jessica Summers

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Jessica, a junior financial economics major, wants to attend graduate school, and if not that then a cosmetology academy. As a first-generation college student, her resources were limited, and parental involvement was scarce during the application process.

“My family was very doubtful of me going away for college. My sister, who is year older than me, went to Cortland but only survived one semester. They thought, like her, I would not be able to handle it. But here I am -- my third year at Binghamton University -- and I love it.”

For more informaiton about the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), visit https://www.binghamton.edu/eop.

Kim Washington, BEP 16’, is an intern in the Office of Media and Public Relations and an undergraduate student in the BA English Literature and Creative Writing Program. 

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.