First-Generation Student Iván López-Justiniano
November 8, 2017—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.