Learning to Lead with Jesse

Segment #7 from Eastern Iowa Community Colleges


To tell us more about being a first-generation student is Jesse, a humble alumnus whose story has come full circle. From an unsure student to a club advisor, Jesse’s patience and determination never let him down, and EICC provided the guidance and support he needed throughout the journey. Jesse, let’s hear it from you,

– Hola, Alex. Gracias. I’m a first-generation Mexican American citizen and proud graduate of Eastern Iowa Community College’s Liberal Arts program. Attending college wasn’t always a part of my master plan, but it was an amazing blessing in disguise. What started as something to rush through turned into some of the most impactful years of my life. As a first-generation college student, I didn’t have anyone at home to guide me in filling out the FAFSA or scholarship applications. No one to help me choose a program or classes. Many first-gen students share this experience and my tenacity to navigate the college landscape, and I did it, I even landed some scholarships. But life never stops and other challenges arose, making my goal of graduating increasingly difficult. Yet, I was lucky. I had amazing instructors who were engaging and insightful. They valued my opinion, pushed me to think outside the box, and encouraged me to persist and graduate. EICC’s small class sizes allowed me to make meaningful connections with instructors who really cared. They are masters of their craft and helped me discover my passion for education and teaching. It was here that I found myself and what I can contribute to the world. That is why I devote my career to mentor, guide and support students. I work as a Latinx outreach coordinator, helping seventh through 12th graders prep and plan for college and careers. I am also EICC’s League of United Latin American Citizens club advisor, where I encourage members to set goals and step into leadership roles. I coordinate events that showcase our culture, community, and all that we contribute. I assist students facing challenges similar to mine, guiding them along their own path. I want to be an ally to students like those who rallied around me while I was here. And that’s my story, Alex. Adios.

– Jesse, thank you for teaching us about LULAC, one of the most active clubs on campus and within the community. Students volunteer their time to help local organizations with a number of events and initiatives and even lend their voice to state meetings. It’s amazing the positive influence you have had on this community, Jesse. Thanks again.

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