Presenting the 2021 First-Generation Essay Contest Winners!


Apr. 1, 2022, 12pm to 1:30pm

Office/Remote Location

Virtual/Google Meets


Please join us on April 1, 2022, for the First-Generation: Pathways & Journeys presentation of the 2021 First-Generation Essay contest winners. where the winners will be recognized officially and read their award-winning essays.

Undergraduate Winners

  • 1st Place: Reina De La Paz, Freshman/Secondary Education/College of Education
  • 2nd Place: Dulce Pixabaj-Perez, Sophomore/Journalism/Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
  • 3rd Place: Tammy Martinez, Sophomore/Graphic Design/College of Fine Arts

Graduate Winners

  • 1st Place: Emmanuel Berrelleza, Masters Student/Curriculum and Instruction/College of Education
  • 2nd Place: Torisha Khonach, Doctoral Student/Sociology/College of Liberal Arts
  • 3rd Place: Zihui Zhang, Masters Student/Curriculum and Instruction/College of Education

As part of the Fall 2021, First-Generation Celebration, The Intersection and the Minority Serving Institution Student Council held the 2nd annual First-Generation Essay Contest. This competition allows first-generation undergraduate and graduate students to share their personal stories about their first-generation journeys at UNLV. More than 40 students participated in this year's contest sharing the many intersections of the student experience from a first-generation lens. These essays expressed students' challenges being the first to attend college within their family unit. In addition, their writings captured the resilient spirit and courageous determination our UNLV first-generation students use to achieve their academic and professional goals.

In recognition of these students' efforts, the Minority Serving Institution Student Council provided monetary awards to the top three undergraduate and graduate/professional student essays, for a total of six awards. In addition, the 2020 essay contest winners were among the judges of this year's contest.



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The Intersection