Carnegie Mellon University
November 10, 2021

Guerrero Adds to Family Legacy for First Generation Students

By Heidi Opdyke

Abby Simmons
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-6094

Growing up in New York City, Arianna Garcia Guerrero and her sister helped their mother translate English into Spanish in order to explain academic and other opportunities for the family. 

Today, Guerrero continues to communicate and share educational opportunities for others as president of First Together, Carnegie Mellon University's student organization that supports students, like Guerrero, who are the first generation in their family to go to college or whose parents received an associate degree or attended a 4-year college/university but did not graduate.

"There are so many unknowns and things you don't understand that could facilitate your experience as a first-generation college student," Guerrero said. "Having a community that relates to those experiences makes a difference. I want people to see the pride in being first-generation and give them a family to turn to when they need resources."

Guerrero, a junior studying international relations and politics with a minor in cybersecurity, was inspired by her sister, Graciela Garcia, who co-founded First Together and graduated from CMU in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in information systems.

"It was important for me to amplify the first-gen experience while also equipping new students with a community and the resources that could help set them up for even more success," said Garcia, who now works at Apple. "Joining a university where you know the majority of the student body does not share the same first-gen identity can be very daunting, but hopefully, with First Together it makes it a bit easier."

Read more about Guerrero’s work with FIRST Together