First-Gen at WSU: Raul Leyva-Montes

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 Raul Leyva-Montes, a current first-gen student at Wichita State, about their first-gen experience.


Syracuse, Kansas. I graduated high school in Syracuse as well.


Second year physician associate graduate student, in my clinical year.

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

I take great pride in representing my family and community as a first-gen, Mexican-American student. It has not been easy to get to this point. These last six months have tested my dedication to the PA profession more than I could have ever asked for, but I am honored with how far I have made it and excited about where my future lies.

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

My family has supported me in every possible way to advance my education. My community has provided the resources and tools needed to leave my hometown and pursue a graduate degree in physician associate studies. Most importantly, faculty from K-State and Wichita state have opened the doors to where I am now.

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

Definitely reach out to other students you know and ask how, what and where they went to get help or what helped them get to their point of education. Don’t be scared to ask for a helping hand. The number of Hispanics pursuing a college education, especially in the medical field, is unfortunately a lot smaller than it should be, so being a helping hand is the least we can do for one another.

Is there any advice you would share with faculty or staff who work with first-gen students?

Ask about the student's background. Sometimes first-gen students struggle to open up. Most of the time, we have nobody to turn to for advice, while others may have family that have gone through the process, I know I did not have this help.

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

After graduating with a master’s degree in physician associate studies from WSU, I plan on providing medical care to Southwest Kansas. I am open to exploring my options in medical specialties and what best fits my interests and needs.

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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