State University of New York College at Geneseo

Karla Lora (2016)

My First Generation Story

First-generation students are expected to push aside all of the circumstances they have faced in life and be the first in their families to receive a college education. As a first-generation student, I entered Geneseo without any knowledge of what is to come, hoping that I am going in the right direction. I plan on majoring in political science with a concentration in pre-law and/or a minor in women’s studies.

Nothing in life has come easy to me. I have had to work twice as hard as others, and plan to continue to do so in order to achieve my dreams of attending law school and becoming an immigration attorney. I have acknowledged that I, indeed, am the future. My two younger sisters look up to me, hoping that I will walk down that stage in the year 2020, and thus, provide them with a sense of hope and accomplishment.

A year ago, I resided at a domestic violence shelter with my mother and two sisters. Every day was a different struggle. If you were to ask me about my plans for the future a year ago, I would have responded, “I do not know; I am not even sure about tomorrow.”

Today upon asking me, I would tell you my plans and aspirations for the next 10 years of my life. I have learned that today does not define tomorrow. I use my position as an undocumented Latina and a first-generation student as motivation, instead of an excuse. As cliché as it may sound, my circumstances, family background and past are only assets, and they do not define me.

A college education means more to me than just a career or social validation. Therefore, failure is not an option.

About the Student

Karla Lora Resized

Karla Lora is a first-generation student, born in the Dominican Republic. She came to the United States when she was about a year old and grew up in the Bronx. She is the oldest of three girls. A political science major with a concentration in pre-law, Karla plans on attending law school to become an immigration attorney. Her aspirations were inspired by her own immigration status and family struggles.

Student Stats

Name: Karla Lora (2016)
Age: 18
Year in School: (Select One)
Major: Political Science
Favorite Course: Political Science
Dream Job: Immigration Attorney

About the School

SUNY Geneseo

The State University of New York at Geneseo is a premier public liberal arts college nestled in the picturesque Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.

Founded in 1871, Geneseo is known for its exceptional faculty, its welcoming atmosphere, and its reputation for producing fiercely loyal alumni. Dedicated to developing socially responsible citizens with skills and values for productive lives, Geneseo offers a uniquely warm, familial environment for learning and discovery.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662