First-Gen at WSU: Kristy Pacheco

Wichita State University is home to nearly 5,000 first-generation students, individuals whose caregivers weren't able to complete a college degree and who lack the firsthand experience to tackle college life. To help with their transition, Wichita State offers a number of resources to first-gen students to support them during their time in college, including F1RST GEN SHOCKERS.

Hear from Kristy Pacheco, a current first-gen student at Wichita State, about her first-gen experience.


I was born and raised in Kansas City and graduated from Sumner Academy.


I’m a senior elementary education major graduating this December. My minor is Spanish, and I’m also completing the Honors Interdisciplinary Track.

How does it feel to be the first member of your family to attend college?

Being the first member of my family to attend college is both empowering and heartwarming. I find so much gratitude in knowing that I’ve been able to take full advantage of the many sacrifices my parents have made. I also feel relieved to have explored this foreign territory because thanks to that, I have the knowledge needed to ensure that my siblings don’t struggle the same way I did.

What support have you received as a first-gen student?

I’ve received a plethora of support as a first-generation student, especially since arriving at WSU. I’ve found many mentors, offices, programs and friends who’ve supported me throughout this difficult journey. Finding a support system made the biggest difference in my life and truly ensured my success.

What piece of advice would you share with incoming first-gen college students?

I would tell incoming first-gen college students to seek opportunities that are intimidating because those are the experiences that provide the most growth. As a first-gen student, I often struggled with imposter syndrome and was even scared to pursue certain opportunities because I didn’t feel qualified enough for them. Overcoming this fear and doubt was one of the best things I could have done for myself because that’s what helped me grow into such a capable leader.

What do you hope to do after you graduate from Wichita State?

After my graduation, I plan on pursuing my Master of Education in learning and instructional design. While completing my master’s, I also plan on working as a teacher and prioritizing things I wasn’t able to focus on during my undergraduate experience. With that being said, I’m excited to pour more of my time into family, travel and myself.

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling more than 23,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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