Humphrey School News—November 8, 2017

First-Generation Student Iván López-Justiniano

The University of Minnesota is joining other colleges around the country November 8 to celebrate first-generation students, staff, and faculty. The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is proud to share the stories of some of our first-generation students. 

Iván López-Justiniano, MHR ‘19
Hometown: San Germán, Puerto Rico

I come from a humble family in a small town in Puerto Rico, where I lived and studied for my whole life.  Being from a small town has some advantages and disadvantages at the same time. I had limited opportunities there, but I also had a chance to develop professional relationships that helped me in my career.

What does it mean to be able to attend college? Being able to attend a college in the United States has always been one of my professional goals because of the opportunities I have here. It represents the chance to be a role model for my younger siblings, and also help my family in every sense. I know I have suffered from a lack of opportunities my whole life, but I always said to myself: If I get the opportunity to enroll at a university in United States, I could demonstrate to everyone that took time to help me achieve my goal that their time was not spent in vain.  Out of all of my three siblings, I am the only one who has left home, even though they are all enrolled in different universities in Puerto Rico. I am the first one to graduate from college in my family and the first to go to graduate school.

Why did you choose the Humphrey School? I wanted to study in an environment that gives importance to social matters, respects minorities, and gives every person a voice and an equal opportunity to pursue higher education.  My work in the human rights degree program is focused on gender, race, and ethnicity issues. And  I decided to enroll in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, to embody these ideals and use them to help not only my family but my country.

Office of Communications

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
300G Humphrey School
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455