First-Generation Students on Their Journeys

The News Magazine of HCU

Dane Wee-Tom ‘22

School of Nursing & Allied Health | Bachelor of Science in Nursing

I am an international, first-generation student from Jamaica. I have over 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry, with five years in a management capacity. While working in hospitality, I have developed a deep level of understanding and care for people. As such, it has made me examine myself to understand where my endearing personality and passion for service can be utilized for something much bigger than myself which led me to pursue my first love – nursing.

Nursing school has been the hardest thing that I have done thus far, I would not be able to do it without the support of my family and friends. Now that I have attained my BSN, I would like to work in the intensive care unit and then return to school to become an acute care nurse practitioner.

During my time at HBU, I was a member of Alpha Chi Honors Society and Sigma Theta Tau. I served as Director of Professionalism and Co-Chair of the Nursing Student Organization from Jan. 2022 to May 2022 and Director of Membership and Points and Co-Chair from Jan. 2021 – Dec. 2021.

Karen Rivera

College of Arts & Humanities | Bachelor of Arts in Spanish

I was born and raised in Houston and graduated from Spring Woods High School in 2019. As a first-generation student and the oldest of five in my family, I was very lost when looking for what universities to apply for. When I found out about Houston Baptist University, I thought it was a perfect fit as I loved the small campus and the Christ-centered education.

In my time here at HBU, I have been a part of Young Life and Baptist Student Ministries as a small group participant, a flute player in the Husky Band, and TRIO Student Support Services, a federally funded program that provides academic and professional support for underrepresented students Being in TRIO these past two years has been a blessing as I have been able to grow as a leader, all thanks to the constant support and encouragement of the TRIO staff. Since my time at HBU I have made the Dean’s List for two years, and now I serve as the Lead TRIO Academic Peer Coach.

As a Spanish major, not only have I been able to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of my own culture, but I have been able to learn and be exposed to other Hispanic cultures. With my major, it is my goal to bridge the language barrier many people face in the Spanish-speaking community. I firmly believe that the classes I have taken here at HBU will equip me with the necessary knowledge needed to excel in my future career.

Yoel Gonzalez

School of Nursing & Allied Health | Bachelor of Science in Nursing

As a first-generation college student, I am proud that I am the first in my family to become a nurse. I am natively from Cuba, and Spanish is my first language. I come from a humble background and a strong-knit family and also am a person who values family, friendship and loyalty. I have faced many adversities and hardships in my past but have been able to overcome all of them to continue to achieve my goals, thank God.

I received the President’s Scholarship and was a member of the local and National Nursing Student Association.

During my time at HBU, I was also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. I was recognized on the Dean’s List multiple semesters, volunteered in the community and helped with the Houston Food Bank. I am thankful for the foundation I received from Houston Baptist University in guiding me on the path to becoming the best professional nurse version of myself.