Testimonials from students, mentors, and parents
"The First To Go program at LMU has really given me a support system that has helped me throughout college whether it be finding new places to study or simply just getting vital information every student needs to succeed in college. The most helpful information that FTG has given me was the First To Go Academy because the week of events gave us all the information we needed to know about graduate school. It is hard to be the first in your family to go to college and it is just as hard to be the first to go to graduate school."
Ana Bermudez, senior, sociology and African American Studies, transfer student
"First To Go has been a very welcoming experience [for me] as a transfer student simply because there is someone to guide me and lead me in the right direction from day one. My mentors [Cynthia Gonzalez and Carla Cruz] have kept me very focused and supported me all year. It has really made my transition from a community college easy."
Jonathan Castillo, junior, finance and accounting double major, transfer student
FTG has giving me the pride to embrace my identity as a first-generation transfer student by providing me with a family that understands my struggles and is available with support and resources to help guide my success.
Paige Coleman, junior, sociology major, transfer student
“I am very proud of how strong-willed and determined Jonathan is, and I am honored that he feels comfortable enough to discuss his plans and thought process with me. We have great conversations about his academics, career, family and life.”
Cynthia Gonzalez, Director of Development, Mexican American Alumni Association
The First To Go program has really helped me transition from high school to college by offering a great base of support. I now have a strong group of friends who I can always rely on thanks to this program. The amazing mentors also offer support whenever I need it. Not to mention, the large First To Go community itself is always friendly and vibrant. This program has exposed me to many resources that are offered at LMU, which I would have otherwise never found. I definitely encourage other first-generation students to join this program over the years because of the strong support that this program offers.
Kevin Mazariegos, freshman, business administration major
"We knew LMU was an outstanding university, and we were both honored and excited that Sarina was accepted. Nonetheless, taking the first steps to accepting admission was unfamiliar and a bit scary. Dr. Rease-Miles was so generous with her time and so supportive of Sarina having the best college experience. The First to Go Program has solidified our decision to join the LMU family and we are so grateful for all of their help and support."
Sandy Ortiz, Parent
"I was really overwhelmed at the start of the summer and nervous about college. The guidance of First To Go opened my eyes to the possibility of double majoring. Because of the First To Go Program I am confident and even more excited about embarking on my college career at LMU."
Sarina Ramirez-Ortiz, sophomore, psychology and dance double major
"My first to Go experience last year showed me everything I wish I had when I was in college as a first-gen student: professors who shared my experience and understood how monumental going to college is for students who are the first in their families to go. Sandie is a wonderful student, and her determination inspires me to think of how to best support her ideas and goals."
Dr. Brad Stone, Sandie's Mentor, Chair, African American Studies, and Associate Professor of Philosophy
"My mentors, Jennifer Belichesky and Prof. Brad Stone, will always have open ears for me. I give them daily updates on my life, and they always give me positive feedback and great advice. For example, a conversation I had with Brad about grad school has furthered my conviction that grad school is something I really want to do. I am truly fortunate to have two amazing mentors who care about my academic success and future."
Sandie Villanueva, senior, political science and Chicana/o Studies