Jessica Valdes

Major/Year: Political Science/ First Year
Hometown: Havana, Cuba & Miami, Florida

Jessica comes from a large family in Cuba. She fondly remembers the times she spent growing up with her close-knit family. Her accomplishments as a first generation student mean that she will make her family proud. She is grateful for the sacrifices her mother made in moving her to the US when she was 12 years old. “It’s really important for me to make my family proud… [it means] their struggles were not in vain.”

Jessica has found strength in her first generation identity. She attended the 1st First Generation Student Summit, which was a workshop centered on writing and the positivity in sharing one’s unique story. “My story is something that sets me a part.” Jessica shares her story of being the first in her family to go to college with those who may be struggling and feel like school is too tough. She wants her story to motivate other students to a path of success.

Jessica likes that the MFOS program is more than “monetary benefit”. She is grateful of the many ways the program strives to help students. She mentions the mentor program and how fundamental it is for first year students to have someone that can guide them through the initial process of college. The supportive staff is also a great part of the MFOS program. 

Jessica’s future goal is to be a lawyer. Her dreams stem from her desire to inspire others in her family to pursue higher education. She believes it is her duty to “set the mark” especially for her younger sister and her cousins.

Jessica is a member of the Hispanic Student Association (HSA), the HSA Membership Leadership Program, and she is a Multicultural and Diversity Affairs Ambassador.

Closing Remark: “Whenever you find yourself at a moment of vulnerability, just know that you are not alone. Someone there is going through the same thing and with the help of others you can move on and achieve your dreams. ..just because you have bad moments doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be a brighter day.”