Meet the Team

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Meet the Team

The First Gen Fellows Team is comprised of eight student leaders that plan, produce, and coordinate social, educational, and diverse events on campus! 

  • FGF Leadership Development Coordinator

Diana S. Algomeda Villada

Get to know Diana!

Diana Algomeda moved to the United States when she was ten years old. Due to the lack of college talk in her family, Diana never dreamed about going to college. Thanks to AVID, a college readiness and success program, Diana learned to set goals and choose the right classes. Today, as Diana starts her third year in college she is confident about the decisions in regards to her education. Diana continues to be an advocate for students success and readiness by being dedicated to First Generation Fellows. She is seeking a degree in mathematics and hopes to attend graduate school to become a high school teacher. With this, she hopes to continue to help students obtain the right resources for higher education.

Major: Mathematics with two minors, education and global engagement

Hometown: Seattle, WA

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

The most exciting thing about First Gen Fellows is being able to interact and create safe spaces for students who share the same experiences and struggles as me.

What has been your favorite class at UWT? My favorite class at UWT was one of my core classes (TSOC 265), in this class; I was able to unwind my identity and to see the world differently. Not only did I enjoy this class but I was also able to create a strong relationship with a professor who is now my mentor.

Advice for first-year students? I highly recommend attending your professor's office hours and taking advantage of the TLC. Take into consideration that more than fifty percent of the student body are first-generation students and professors are here to help alleviate the transition.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT? The different coffee shops around campus.

Favorite food? TACOS!

  • FGF Marketing Coordinator

Louise Parafina

Get to know Louise!

A little bit about Louise, she was a transfer student from South Seattle College where she had finished her AS degree. Louise has always been interested in expanding her knowledge in technology so that she may later use these skills to pursue a career in architectural design, anthropology and cinematography. On her downtown Louise often travels with her friends and family, she enjoys playing sports, spending some time in the outdoors and listening to music.

Major: Information Technology

Hometown: San Jose, Philippines

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

I am excited to be a part of a community where I can gain experience and knowledge about myself as well as others around me.

What has been your favorite class at UWT? My favorite class at UWT so far are my Database and Web Development classes.

Advice for first year students? My advice to first year students is to look for resources and take opportunities whenever they come your way, because the best things to come your way are always ones you never expect.

What is the one thing you love the most about UWT? What I love most about UWT are the small classes, small campus and the fact that once you’re a part of the UWT community, it becomes easier to be a part of smaller communities within UWT.

Favorite food? EVERYTHING...but mostly Tacos!

  • FGF Secretary

Kendy Trinh

Get to know Kendy!

Kendy Trinh is a first generation student college student who recently transferred to UWT last Fall 2016. He understands the transitions and the stress that comes along with being a transfer student from a community college into a university. His prior experience at community college prepared him for his journey at UWT now therefore, he does not regret starting at a 2-year college first.

Major: Ethnic, Gender, Labor Studies

Hometown: South Seattle, Washington

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

I am excited to share my story and experiences as a first-generation college student and to be able to create a community with those who can relate to our experiences. It is a chance to not feel alone or feel self-doubt…it is an opportunity to feel proud of how far we all have gotten thus far.

What has been your favorite class at UWT? My favorite class at UWT would be my Race and Racism in the United States with Tanya Velasquez – this class was very informative about topics that are rarely every written or talked about in the majority of the history of the United States, which I personally found eye-opening.

Advice for first year students? My advice to first year students would be to do not wait for an opportunity to land at your front steps, but take initiative to seek all the usable resources that are there for you. They are there just keep digging.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT? I love that our class sizes are just right in terms of size and it is easy to communicate directly with your professors.

Favorite food? I like all foods.

  • FGF Leadership Development Coordinator 

James Christian Da

Get to know James!

James is a first-generation student that started his college journey at Washington State University after spending 15 years in Germany as a military child. It was at WSU where he learned the importance of retention for students who share his first-generation identity. Today, he is pioneering First Gen Fellows with a main goal to support students, first-gen or not, successfully transition into college because of the privileged experience he had at his prior college. He hopes that University of Washington Tacoma will one day be able to adopt a program like TRIO so that first-generations students no longer have to advocate for themselves and instead are able to solely focus on their academics.

Major: Social Welfare with a minor in Global Engagement through the Global Honors program

Hometown: Heidelberg, Germany

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

I am excited to meet and support all the in-coming students that have yet to step foot on campus, while also celebrating those who have already have history on campus. This is just the beginning of something great! Although for now, we are a student-led program (supported by lovely faculty and staff), I can't wait to see this program take on unprecedented growth in the coming future.

What has been your favorite class at UWT? TAMST 210 taught by Ed Chamberlain. Although it is named as an intro class to American Cultures, it is nothing I imagined it to be like - colonial history. In actuality, I learned how artists, intellectuals, and others envision America's diverse cultures, and how social issues play a role in the making of American cultures and nationhood.

Advice for first-year students? Involvement is going to make your college experience 10x better! Go to the events that most interest you, meet new friends, get out of your comfort zone, take charge on campus, BUT remember not to spread yourself too thin! Being involved is important, but remember that you are a student first and foremost, so it is okay to say no sometimes. Balance is key!

What is the one thing you love most about UWT? Honestly, I love the fact that I attend a small school! Fun fact: I used to attend Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Population: 40,000 students. I love going to a school that has roughly 4,500 students because it allows for closer connections among each other. A big fish in a small pond!

Favorite food? GYROS.

  • FGF Operations Assistant

Maria Isabel Crisostomo Salmeron 

Get to know Maria!

  • FGF 

Alexandra Isabel Franklin Ortiz

Get to know Alex!

  • FGF Advisor (Professional Staff)

Kristi Mae Soriano-Noceda

Get to know Kristi!

She started her career in higher education as a Test Administrator for the Stone Education Center at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington for Academic and Army Personnel Testing in 2004. In 2007, she served as a Washington State Senate legislative intern for Tacoma District 27.  After finishing her BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Pacific Lutheran University, she became the civilian Test Control Officer in 2008 for JBLM.  In 2011, she relocated to Camp Hovey, South Korea, and served the Army Installation Management Command Pacific Region as the Education Services Officer for Army Continuing Education for Area 1 (northern region of military bases) and was nominated for Army Civilian Employee of the year for 2012.   Upon arrival stateside in 2013, she began her graduate studies with the University of Washington in the M.Ed program and graduated in 2015. While in the program she worked as a student assistant for the Division of Student life at the UW Seattle Campus. In 2014, she worked as the Curriculum Coordinator for the Department of Asian Languages and Literature and later transferred to Disability Resources for Students at the UW Bothell campus.  She currently serves as the advisor to First Generation Fellows and the Child Care Assistance Program at UW Tacoma.