First Generation Firsts
First in their family: from graduate, to homeowner, to building generational wealth, Summer Searchers break new ground
Who would’ve thought that this 17-year-old immigrant from Mexico would be traveling half-way across the world to India to spend one month with a group of strangers from different walks of life and have an amazing time? At that time, I never thought that was something I could ever do, both financially, and being so open to new experiences. When I reflect back, I think about the community we created and my willingness to adventure into the unknown.
I think about my heritage and my family when I think about being a first-gen student. I can honestly say that I never thought that I would live past 18 years old and to be able to attend a prestigious four-year university. It feels like a miracle to me… I wasn’t supposed to make it, but I did!” Jay graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and will head back to Washington, DC to follow his fiery passion for public policy — a passion that was originally stoked on his second summer trip to Junior Statesmen Summer School at Georgetown University.
Karla’s high school counselors discouraged her from applying to schools like Boston College because they did not think she would get in. Karla’s response to that was “being the Summer Searcher that I am, I’m going to apply anyway.” So she did… and she got accepted with a full-ride scholarship! In 2008, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Boston College, before going on to get a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College. She followed her passion to Washington, DC, and now works for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), an organization that inspires young Latinos to work in government and policy.