TRIO staff members Lydia Perez (left), Jesse Cabanas (middle), and Ivan Quintana (right) meet students and share the resources of their program at the first-generation week celebration on MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus. (Photo by Rey Covarrubias Jr.)

Campus resources come together to support first-generation students

First-generation students at Mesa Community College have support programs available to them by college SENDAS and TRIO programs providing free resources to any MCC student in need. 

Nov. 8 signifies a national day of recognition for first-generation college students on the path towards a higher education, 59% of which are the first in their family to attend college and then move on to a bachelor’s degree, according to a fact sheet by the Center for First-Generation Student Success 

Both MCC campuses are hosting a series of first-generation week events between Nov. 7 and Nov 10. which connect students to exclusive programs that offer diverse opportunities and support in their educational career.

Programs for first-generation students are made possible in part by Title V Hispanic Institution Grant funding, which supports the college’s SENDAS project to retain students, ensure graduation, and establish scholarship and transfer opportunities. 

“We’re out here to help students, and even though we’re a Title V Hispanic Serving Institution grant, we are here to service all of our students at Mesa Community College,” said Melissa Meadows, MCC’s Title V project manager.

First-generation students are also a main target of MCC’s eight individual programs which are a part of TRIO, a project which acts as a cross section of campus programs and resources that also offer support to low income students and those with disabilities. 

“Anyone can apply [for TRIO support]. We promote all over campus because we only service people that are MCC students.” said Jesse Cabanas, a program analyst with TRIO.

First-generation week events at MCC celebrate students, faculty and alumni alike in recognition of their unique struggles in their pursuit for self-growth.

“I want to be a good example for my little cousins because they are the other generation, and since I’m the first, then they could also be the second generation [of college students].” said MCC student Paulina Peralta.

Students like Peralta represent a community at MCC that for many replace what their families were unable to provide

“It’s definitely been a struggle, especially since you don’t have that support from your family. They’re not really understanding. They come from different worlds.” said Myleen Maldonado, a first generation college student at MCC.

“It’s difficult, but TRIO is really helpful with their services and their support,” Maldonado added.

Panels and workshops throughout the first-generation week connected the entire college with resources that help students of all demographics.

“Even if you’re not first generation, you still have the opportunity to learn about the struggles and successes of students that are.” said Meadows in regard to the week’s events.


  • Rey Covarrubias Jr.

    Rey Covarrubias Jr. is a freelance reporter for the Mesa Legend. As a lifelong Arizonan, he has found his passion in learning and sharing the diverse cultural and natural wonders of the state.