Meet the Team

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Meet the Team

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


Maria Isabel Crisostomo Salmeron 

Get to know Maria!

Maria Isabel was born in an indigenous P’urhepecha pueblo of Michoacan, Mexico. Where she later moved to the United States seeking for a higher education not knowing it would bring a mixture of hardships, imposter syndrome and excessive workload to reach a level of knowledge. Despite her hard work and lack of familiarity with college enrollment, she was able to attend at the University of Washington Tacoma and continued to pave her way throughout college life. With the help of student leaders, Maria later got involved at the university, where she is now the current Leadership Development Coordinator of First Gen Fellows, former First Gen Fellows Operations Assistant and now ASUWT School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences senators where she focuses on the transition of First Generation students.

Major: School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Politics, Philosophy & Economics: Economics

Hometown: Born in Mexico, raised in Burien Washington #206

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

Interacting with students from all backgrounds and learning from my peers, staff, and faculty.

What has been your favorite class at UWT?

Too many, they all have helped me learn a little bit of everything. It’s very hard to decide which specifically.

Advice for first-year students?

Ask for help, never be afraid to demand for more you are the voice and the power.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT?

I love the people and the diversity that we have in this campus.

Favorite food?

Aguachile, a Mexican dish. (try it if you can handle spicy food)

  • Leadership Development Coordinator


Araik Papyan

Get to know Ara!

Ara was born in Tukwila, raised in Armenia. He came back to the US and attended high school as a freshman. Like many students, moving from school to school was a difficult transition. He enrolled in Running Start and graduated Foster High School and Highline College with an AA in Business. Currently he is a senior studying at the Milgard School of Business in hopes to peruse his degree.

Major: Business Administration: Management with a minor in Economics.

Hometown: Tukwila, WA and Armenia

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows

The most exciting thing about First Gen Fellows is to connect with all of the students and share about each unique experience that everyone brings to UW Tacoma.

What has been your favorite class at UWT?

My absolute favorite class was TBUS 310 Introduction to Marketing with Greg Biersack. He had a very special way of teaching the course by bringing Entrepreneurs/Speakers and having them present about their business or organization that they were running.

Advice for girst year students?

My advice to first year student is, not only pursue a 4-year degree but make friends and connections because they will be the ones that support you once you graduate. Thus, make your college experience as exciting as you can!!!

What is the one thing you love most about UWT?

Lot of students know each other and are familiar with one another. This feeling makes it easier for people to be inclusive and inviting to the campus.

Favorite food

European-Middle Eastern dishes, but my favorite fruit is watermelon

  • Leadership Development Coordinator


Nhien Le

Get to know Nhien!

Nhien Le is a first-generation student, who understands the hardships and responsibilities that needs to be up held for success. But he also understands that it is also ok to fail sometimes and that not everything will go perfectly.

Major: Currently Undeclared

Hometown: Stockton, California

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

I am most excited about getting my art work known around campus.

What has been your favorite class at UWT?

My favorite class was a class known as “Art and Culture of Japan."

Advice for first year students?

It is ok to fail as long as you make up for it in the future.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT?

One thing I love about UWT is the people because when I showed them my art they showed appreciation for my work.

Favorite food?

My Favorite food is grilled eel


  • FGF Marketing Coordinator


Kevin Mattox

Get to know Kevin!

Kevin Mattox has always been up in the air since he was raised, he never really thought about the possibility of going to college until his senior year of high school when he took a class that required him to fill out college applications and scholarships. Kevin grew up in a working-class family so, he was pretty much on his own when it came to filling out forms to get into college. Throughout Kevin’s time in college, he has been driven to assist other students who needs help with figuring out how to deal with problems that they receive little support with. Kevin has always tried to have an open schedule so he could use the spare time to assist students inside and outside of the classroom with studying, class scheduling, and future planning. Now that Kevin became a Graduate student he plan to encourage other students to build each other up and work together to solve problems. His plan is to be an active student leader on this campus and the best mentor he can be for incoming students.

Major: Masters of Accounting

Hometown Bonney Lake, WA

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows?

The thing that I am most excited for First Gen Fellows is working with other organizations to make UW Tacoma a safe and friendly place for all students. UW Tacoma is a very special place and I would love to make every student feel valued and accepted on campus.

What has been your favorite class at UWT?

My favorite class at UWT has been TPHIL 361 Ethics in Society because the professor encouraged us to go out into Tacoma and find professionals to address areas of concern in that area. I loved this opportunity to find issues and learn how Tacoma is going about solving them. This class has encouraged me to accept the challenge of participating in the LEAD Certificate program in the upcoming year.

Advice for first year students?

The advice that I think is most valuable for first-year students is: find out what you are most passionate about and then look for opportunities where you can be engaged and building on that passion.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT?

The one thing that I love the most about UWT is the people and the inclusiveness of the campus.

Favorite Food

My favorite food is chicken fettuccine alfredo.


  • FGF Operations Assistant 


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.

  • FGF Advisor (Professional Staff)