Nedralani Foisaga Mailo

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First-generation students, who don't have a family history of higher education, are a group that makes UW Tacoma a very special place. Read their stories as they tell, in their own words, about the challenges they overcame on their path to success.

Nedralani Foisaga Mailo, UW Tacoma first-generation student.What does being First Gen mean to you?
The term First Gen carries a lot of deep meaning not only to me, but to my family and my community. I take pride in knowing that I am succeeding in a system that is not meant for me. I have truly found my passion and calling because of college.

What challenges have you experienced?
Being a First Gen student was tough because I didn’t know how to navigate college. I’m the first on both sides of my family and because of that I had a lot of pressure to excel in something new and unknown.

What strengths do you draw upon to persist?
I draw upon the strengths of my family. Although they didn’t go to college, they understand the importance of what college can do for my future. They’ve supported me in my journey by being my sounding board and a solid foundation to fall back on.

Who supports you?
My family and my Pacific Islander community are my biggest supporters. There aren’t a lot of Pacific Islanders in higher education and me being here—succeeding while at the same time embracing my culture—sets the tone so that others like me can do the same.

What was your major?
I am a recent UW Tacoma graduate, receiving my B.A. in healthcare leadership in 2017.

What advice do you have for other First Generation UWT students?
You do not have to leave your culture at the door when entering higher education. Be proud and embrace the challenges and culture that got you where you are now.

Return to "We Are First Generation" Home Page

Written: 
June 5, 2018