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First-Generation Peer Mentors

2021-2022 First-Generation Peer Mentors

Jeanine Dorrough


Jeanine Dorrough is a senior double majoring in English and Business with plans to pursue an MBA. When asked about her experience as a First-Generation student, she said,”I was absolutely clueless coming into UD. I didn’t know about the different offices around campus that could’ve helped guide me.” Her advice to First-Gen students is “to dive into the community at UD and take advantage of all that it offers. Learn about the different departments around campus that are there to help guide us, and to build relationships with their professors even if it seems scary at first.”

Kaosisochukwu Princewill Obegolu

Prince Obegolu

Prince Obegolu is an Economics major with a Business minor from Dallas, Texas. After graduating in May, he plans to pursue an MBA at UD. He is the last of four boys to attend the University of Dallas. His advice to first-gen students is to “always believe in yourself and step out of your comfort zone.”

Vanessa Villagomez

Vanessa Villagomez

Vanessa Villagomez is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with a concentration in Spanish from Fort Worth, Texas. After graduation, she hopes to be in the classroom teaching. She advises first-gen students to get involved on campus. She says, “Being a first-gen student has been a challenging but beautiful experience.”

Emily Alvarado


Emily Alvarado

Emily Alvarado is a junior, double majoring in Theology and Spanish with a Latin American Studies concentration, from Irving, Texas. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a Master's in Theology through the university's 4+1 program. She hopes to pursue a career in a Catholic nonprofit. Her advice to students is to “give yourself time to adjust and learn how to develop a routine. Studying and doing your homework are two different things that need two different time slots. Studying will help you master a topic and will speed up the homework process for you to have more time to try out new things!”

Mariah Houser


Mariah Houser is a junior Physics major from New Mexico and Texas. Upon graduation she hopes to either enter into an engineering field or go to graduate school. Her advice for students is to “Breathe. Study everyday, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. ASK FOR HELP. Professors like to help!” After facing her own struggles as a first-gen student, she hopes to give back to the student body by advising fellow first-gen students with all the skills she’s learned along the way.

Claire Delaplace

Claire D
Claire Delaplace is a Senior who studies History and French at the University of Dallas. Upon graduation she hopes to teach at a classical school. Her advice to first-gen students is, “Don't be afraid to push yourself to the limits of what you think you are capable of achieving. You're smarter and grittier than you think. Reach out to your friends, family, peers, and teachers and let your voice be heard. You are enough.”

Monserrat Ortiz

Monserrat Ortiz is a sophomore majoring in Spanish with an Education concentration. She was born in Texas but raised in Mexico. After graduation, she aspires to be a high school Spanish teacher. Montserrat struggled to navigate resources on campus as a first-generation student but hopes to motivate students to always ask for help when needed.

Anamarie Garcia

Anamarie Garcia is a senior Theology major with an Education concentration. Upon graduation, she hopes to teach theology at a Catholic school. She is currently student-teaching. Her advice to first-generation students is to participate in the UD community! She realizes that this can be intimidating at first, but advises that all the support for first-gen students on campus is available to help students succeed!

Kaylei Richardson

Kaylei Richardson is a biology major. Upon graduation, she plans to continue her education at Texas Woman’s University to pursue her BSN and become a labor and delivery nurse. She admits that during her first years at UD she did not reach outside her comfort zone. She is excited to be a peer mentor who motivates students to set outside their comfort zone and explore the opportunities UD has to offer!

Erin Schniederjan

Erin Schniederjan is a politics major from Muenster, Texas. Her particular interest is in bioethics. She looks forward to applying what she’s learned at UD while growing in virtue upon graduation. Her advice to first-gen students is to not be afraid to speak with professors, as they are happy to help and see students succeed!

Joanna Orozco

Joanna Orozco is a sophomore Chemistry major who migrated to the states in junior high. She says that being a first-gen student has been a challenging but rewarding experience. Upon graduation, she would like to attend either graduate school or Dentistry school. Her advice to first-gen students is to always reach out to professors and other students for help!

Gabriel King

Gabriel King is an Art/Sculpture major planning to minor in Physics or Mathematics. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a Master’s in Industrial/Robotic Design. Gabriel comes from a Catholic family of eleven children in San Antonio, Texas. He is the seventh child to come to UD. As a peer mentor, he looks forward to advising students to choose a major they are passionate about and compliments their talents. He says, “if you seek to find God’s will in your work, you will be blessed.”

Gianella Mena

Gianella Mena is a Psychology and Business double major. She hopes to pursue her Master’s at UD upon graduation to become a psychologist. Her advice to fellow first-gen students is to reach out for help when needed, as that can make the college journey easier. She hopes to help students find the way around college life after facing her own challenges as a first-gen student.

 Bryan Velazquez

Bryan Velazquez is an Interdisciplinary Studies major and plans to become an elementary school teacher after graduation. He says, “Being a first-gen student means I am able to represent my family and community proudly.” He hopes to mentor students by encouraging them to ask for help and being honest when asking for that help. “Don’t be afraid to tell the person about your situation or issue.”

Juanita Acosta

Juanita Acosta is majoring in Psychology and is considering a concentration in Biopsychology. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in Medicine - as either a PA or RN. Her advice to first-generation students is to reach out to advisors and upperclassmen for help. She herself has had challenges with things such as submitting applications and filling out her FAFSA. She is excited to join the peer mentor team to help students discover the opportunities on campus!

Monique Bedolla

Monique is a Biology major and Environmental Science concentrator from Laredo, Texas. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue graduate school for Marine Biology. Her advice to fellow first-gen students is to not fear asking for help. She says, "My goal as a peer mentor is to help other first generation students overcome the same obstacles I did."

Bithiah Moreno

Bithiah is a sophomore Psychology major considering the Pre-Med track. From Dallas, Texas, she hopes to attend graduate school after her time at UD. Her advice to first-gen students is, "don't be afraid to reach out! Whether it be for school work or personal life, there are resources to help!"






Interim Dean Appointments Announced

The University of Dallas (UD) announced the appointment of reference librarian and adjunct French instructor Ron Scrogham as interim dean of libraries and research of the Cowan-Blakely Memorial Library, and the appointment of longtime Politics Professor Richard Dougherty, Ph.D. ’93 M.A. ’89, to serve as interim dean of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts.

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