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. This journey of faith to accomplish a life goal includes my special and favorite memories of meeting the first African American Presidential family Barack and Michelle Obama. I met Barack upon graduating high school in (2003) and Michelle (2014) when she visited the University of Iowa. Meeting these historic people and understanding the role of being “first” has impacted my outlook on being a social justice counselor educator for first-generation college students in higher education. As a native to Chicago, I have been walking a faith filled journey into understanding the role education and advocacy can play in making a way for individuals similar to me. Attending the University of Iowa has allowed me to engage in research projects about students similar to me, while imparting new knowledge about the barriers experienced by first-generation college students of color. As an advocate to others my courage includes motivating, inspiring, and encouraging first-generation college students to pursue their life dreams and remain humble and courageous in the process. My advice based on my college going experiences over the years has led me to conclude that other first-generation college students can benefit from role-models that inspire them on the journey. Have faith, humility, and courage to challenge yourself and step out the boundaries and walk into the unknown. Remain open and genuine to any challenges and develop a belief that you CAN & WILL succeed! Keep the faith to learn from so many endless possibilities and experiences. Be courageous in the struggles on the quest of conquering obstacles. Remember that accomplishing any dream without struggle, there is no progress.

Jonique Childs
Ph.D. Candidate
Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

The University of Iowa