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Get to know the team!

FGF leaders provide outreach and awareness regarding the first generation student experience by providing class presentations for faculty and staff on campus. FGF also does outreach by hosting high school visits for prospective students, tabling during involvement fairs and participating during on-campus Orientation activities.

  • FGF Team

Margarita Daisy Gonzalez


Get to know Margarita Daisy Gonzalez!

Margarita was born in Washington raised by Immigrant parents. She is a first generation student with Mexican roots. Brought up in a family that would encourage their children to pursue their passions and encouraging each other to have a better life than they had. My families goal was to raise their children here so that we could take advantage of opportunities that would have never been available to us in the towns they were born.

Major: Social Welfare

Hometown: Puyallup,WA

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows? 

First Gen Fellows offers so many opportunities to grow and learn and I want to share that with the students that make up our diverse campus and getting to know them.  

What has been your favorite class at UWT?

All the classes I have taken so far have all been engaging and I’ve learned so much from them all, but if I had to choose it would either be TSOCWF 101 or TURB 210. TSOCWF 101 encourages students to go out in the community and make connections and TURB 210 makes students look into urban communities and the history of them.

Advice for first-year students?

Don’t let your mess ups and mistakes define you, they are all part of the learning experience.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT?

The people I have met here and the things I’ve learned.

Favorite food?

Too many to choose just one, but ice cream is always good. 

  • 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 first-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

Paola Jean C Chua 

Get to know Paola!

Paola is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines. She and her two sisters were raised by their grandparents as their single mother worked overseas throughout her childhood. In 2012, they moved to Washington. She left the Philippines as a Sophomore in high school but continued as an 8thgrade here. Transitioning between schools, cultures, and languages were her main challenges growing up, but she eventually adjusted over time. Currently she is a sophomore in hopes of getting into the Biomedical Sciences program and to apply to medical school.

Major:  Biomedical Sciences (Intended Major)

Hometown: Puyallup, WA

What are you most excited about for First Gen Fellows? I am most excited of all the events that we hope would benefit the students personally and academically.

What has been your favorite class at UWT? TBIOL 130 was my favorite even though I didn’t receive my expected grade. The course was the most interesting out of all introductory biology courses and the professor

Advice for first year students? My first advice to first year students is to use their resources (advising, TLC, counseling, healthcare, pantry, gym and many more) as much as they can. These are part of our tuition and meant to accommodate your university experience. Second is to attend events and meet RSOs and organizations. This is where they can meet others of same interest or explore other interests and even make friends. Third is to enjoy the process.

What is the one thing you love most about UWT? UWT is such a close-knit campus. This is one of its most known qualities out of all three UW campuses. I feel that students here feel easier to relate and connect.

Favorite Food: Salmon Maki



  • FGF Operations Coordinator

Yanira Pacheco 

Get to know Yanira!

Yanira serves as the new First Generation Student Initiatives Coordinator for UW Tacoma. In this position she supports the ongoing work of the First Generation Fellows program, and helps  increase the services and programs across campus that support the almost 60% of UW Tacoma students who are the first in their family to attend college. This work involves partnering and collaborating with many programs and initiatives that are focused on increasing the retention through graduation of all students.  It also entails developing  and delivering co-curricular programming that enriches the academic life, and enhances the experiences and overall success of first generation students.


Yanira’s previous institution was the University of Maryland (UMD) at College Park, where she served for six years as an Academic Counselor and Coordinator of the Guided Study Sessions Program (SI) for the Learning Assistance Center in the Counseling Center. At UMD she also worked for 3 years  as the Assistant Director for Academic Outreach and Student Development for the Office of Multi-ethnic Student Education. In this position she coordinated the Tutorial Program and the Road Maps to Success Program. She started her student affairs career at Iowa State University (ISU) where she served as the Coordinator of Recruitment and Retention Programs for multicultural students in the College of Human Sciences. Prior to this role she served as a Program Assistant for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the same institution. As a student services professional she brings more than nineteen years of experience in the field. Yanira holds a Bachelors of Arts in Public Communication with a specialization in Public Relations from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.


Her areas of interest are the college experience for sophomore students, first generation students, learning communities, and student organization advising.

She enjoys gardening, reading and watching movies!

  • Initiatives Coordinator