The March student spotlight is on Francis DeLeon Camacho of Milwaukee. As a shy and first generation college student, Francis has taken full advantage of campus resources – including the Diversity and Pre-College Center, the TRIO Program and joining a club that represented her ethnicity. She is now on solid ground to pursue a career as a social worker to other first generation students.
The Spotlight highlights a UW-Waukesha student’s academic achievement and provides the community with an inside look into campus life and a greater understanding of the diverse profiles and experiences of our students.
What led you to choose your program/major? There were two classes that helped me choose my major: Interpersonal Communication and Public Speaking. First, Interpersonal Communication gave me a better view of how communities around us interact and engage with each other and among their own groups. Second, Public Speaking has shown me how to communicate with others persuasively and effectively with the tips that I learned in this course. Overall, these courses have shaped me into a better person by becoming more determined, motivated, and better able to face the hard obstacles that life throws.
What surprised you most about UW‐Waukesha when you arrived on campus? A number of things surprised me about UW Waukesha’s campus. The most important were three resources: the TRIO Program, the Diversity and Pre-College Center, and OLLA.
The TRIO Program is for first generation college students, and I am very lucky to be a part of this.
I had no idea that their services would impact my life so much. I frequently set up appointments with my advisor, TRiO specialists, and writing tutors at the Academic Success and since then, they have saved my life.
I didn’t realize how much getting help from professors and advisors could make a difference on how well you succeed on assignments. It has shown me that I can achieve my goals. The people in TRiO really care about you and want to help you succeed in college.
The Diversity and Pre-College Center has felt like a second home to me since I first walked in. At first, I realized the diversity of people working there and saw one of my friends working there. She insisted that I come in and look around. James Boling approached me and showed me the type of activities and events they handle. He introduced me to the tutoring services available in the Diversity Center. They also have a study room and sponsor fun events such as Courageous Conversations and Lunch Meet. Since then, I frequently stay and study there, as well as meet new people and hear about their stories and backgrounds.
Another important resource is OLLA (Organization of Latino Leaders of America). This was the first club that I joined because it represented my background and ethnicity (Hispanic – Peruvian and Puerto-Rican American). I met many people through OLLA and volunteered with the main event on campus, Fiesta.
I worked with high school students during this event while we were all having a good time. It was very fun and exciting! We also handed out flyers to the public to come in to enjoy food, entertainment, and music.
Outside of being a college student, what takes up your free time? Being so involved around campus, it’s hard to find time extra time as a college student. When I do have free time, I am working at the front desk in the ASC, babysitting my younger siblings, cooking with my family, volunteering for school events, and hanging with friends.
Is there a UW‐Waukesha professor or staff member who inspired you? There are a lot of professors and staff at UW Waukesha who have inspired me and made a difference in my life not only as a student, but as a person.
Heidi, my TRiO advisor, was helpful with advising me and helping me to decide what classes to take and how to apply for scholarships. This was something that I didn’t even think about and she helped me with the process. I recently received the Lawton Grant, the TRiO Grant and another grant for completing my FASFA early. Heidi also encourages me to take advantage of opportunities on campus. Even when I feel a bit overwhelmed from school, she gives me great tips to relieve stress.
Another staff member who has inspired me is James Boling. James introduced me to staff and other students who work at the Diversity Center. He was the first person who helped me to feel comfortable on campus and my new role as a college student. I was so shy that I didn’t felt like talking to anyone at school.
If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet new people and participate in the school events held at the campus. Thanks to this support, I became more involved on campus and connected with people who have positively impacted my life since day one.
Plans after UW‐Waukesha? My plans after UW Waukesha will be to transfer to UW Parkside and complete a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Anthropology. I hope to go on for my Master’s in Social Work and get my PhD in Social Work.
Advice for incoming UW‐Waukesha students? My advice to incoming freshman students is to not be afraid to approach your professors, go to their office hours and get to know them better. Take advantage of the writing center and tutoring service, since they will really help you with homework, assignments, and papers – as well as help you to better manage your time.
Additional thoughts: I am a first generation college student and the oldest in my family. As a result, I’m trying to do the best I can to be a good role model for my younger siblings. I also get a lot of support from my parents, and it is great to have a number of resources on campus to help me navigate being a college student. I understand the pressure that every first-generation college student faces. Attending classes, waking up early, studying and doing homework, work, and hanging out with friends. Balancing responsibilities gives us perspective for how to manage our time and future plans. At the beginning of my journey, I was very confused as to what career I wanted. I changed my major twice from pre-pharmacy to business to communication.
I was overwhelmed and stressed that all the courses that I was taking were helping me to have an interest on something as a major. Since then, I know what I have to do next -talk with my advisor. I asked my advisor for help with my future plans and it was really worth it. Even though there have been many challenges, it has all been worth it and has helped me to grow into a well-rounded student on campus as well as in the community.
The University of Wisconsin -Waukesha offers freshman and sophomore level classes in over 250 majors, as well as bachelor degree options. A campus of the University of Wisconsin System, it provides access close to home, small class sizes, personalized attention from highly qualified faculty and credits that transfer. The campus is located at 1500 N. University Drive in Waukesha. For more information or directions to the campus, visit the website, waukesha.uwc.edu or email: firstname.lastname@example.org