I was fortunate to have supportive parents who stressed the importance of a college education, even though they did not have that opportunity themselves. Like many first-gen students, I needed generous financial aid, including Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, and work study, to pay for my education.
My name is Paula Maria Koszyk and I was born in Zagorz, Poland. Going through elementary school not knowing English always made me feel like an outcast. I always envied other students that could rely on their parents for help with homework, but my parents were learning from me instead of vice versa.
I grew up in a small farming community in northwest Iowa.  My parents supported and encouraged college as a means to a better life.  Thankfully, financial aid and merit scholarships made college possible, along with some loans.  My Work-Study job during college was in the Admissions and Finan
My journey as a first-generation college student begin in 2003 that includes my experience with faith, humility, and courage! I have had the privilege and opportunity of being a college student for the past 15 years of my life in pursuit of my dreams of being a college professor.