Make The Connection

April 14, 2023 | By Marcos Crespo ’23

Amarilys Torres-Nuñez ’25 (left) collaborates with Ohio Wesleyan faculty and staff, including Sally Aluso in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, to support OWU’s first-generation students. (Photo courtesy of Amarilys Torres-Nuñez)

Building Community

Ohio Wesleyan Student Helps Create a Positive Environment for First-Gen Bishops

Name: Amarilys Torres-Nuñez ’25
Hometown: San Manatí, Puerto Rico
Majors: Zoology & Anthropology
Minor: Psychology
High School: Elsinore High School
OWU Connection Experience: Interning during the 2022-2023 academic year as OWU’s first-generation coordinator

In this paid role, Torres-Nuñez helps organize and lead campus events for first-gen (FG) students. She works with Paul Dean, Ph.D., associate professor of Sociology Anthropology, who is a first-generation college graduate.

“Through my work, I have learned how to navigate through the struggles that are so closely related to the FG experience and understand how they occur,” says Torres-Nuñez, also a first-generation student. “Through educating myself, I am able to see the bigger picture and understand that this issue is a societal problem that needs more awareness.”

Campus Contributions 

“Initiatives that have been taken to help first-gen students include acting as an FG student representative on campus, building a bridge between our program and campus, collaborating with other offices such as OMSA (Office of Multicultural Student Affairs) to create mentoring opportunities for first-years, establishing an annual celebration centered on first-gen awareness, and creating social media pages that provide engaging content for the experience.”

Biggest Achievement

“Helping build and solidify our presence on campus. Being a first-gen is difficult, so knowing that we have created a community that relates to one another and uplifts each other is incredible.

“My overall goal is to leave this campus knowing that incoming first-generation students are going to thrive at OWU. I plan on spending my next few years focused on accomplishing that.”

Lessons Learned

“I am not alone. There are many other first-gen students, faculty, and staff on this campus who can relate to my experiences and who want to help.

“There have been times when I lost sight of the big picture and wanted to give up, but the people on this campus kept rooting for me. They gave me all the tools I needed to succeed and helped me get my determination back.”

Advice to Other First-Gen Students

“I would say that your hard work is not going unnoticed, and I am beyond proud of you! I know it is not easy and I know that it can feel isolating, but I know you can do this because first-gen students embody resiliency and persistence, and the world needs more hardworking people like you.”

Why Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan because it provided me the opportunity to not only advance my education but an opportunity to cultivate my personal growth. OWU offers a multitude of opportunities focusing on the professional and personal success of its students.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I plan to continue my education and get a job in the nonprofit sector. My dream is to be able to get a job in Puerto Rico educating others about the island’s rich and unique culture and how we can protect its environment.”