Northeastern Illinois University

Evelia Moreno (2011)

My First Generation Story

In 2005, I attended Northeastern Illinois University as a part-time student. I’m currently working for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre. Looking forward to graduation in two years, I plan to continue working on a master’s degree in higher education.

It is not easy being a first generation college student, especially being Hispanic. There were barriers that I had to overcome. Unlike other students who had family members to help them in the process of college, I felt blind. I had to learn how to read a schedule of classes and to understand tuition rates. I also had to learn how to shop for books, as well as use university resources to my advantage. My parents did not guide me through these processes because they did not know how. My dream has always been to be as educated and successful as possible. Although my parents only attended grammar school, I have always wanted to get a higher education. At an early age, I started working in many places and realized that if I want a decent job, I must get an education.

As a Hispanic, I feel it is essential for my generation to show all Americans the accomplishments that we have already made and will continue to make in society. First generation students like me have played a major role in building this country and making it a better place. I also believe that we can contribute to society by setting an example of how first generation students can succeed in mainstream America while still remaining loyal to the values that help define us as people. Our generation needs to prove that it is possible to embrace higher education and career advancement.
As an immigrant, I came to this country without knowing English. My culture has provided me with the necessary foundation to strive for a quality education that will translate into a rewarding job. Unlike my parents or siblings, I’m the first of my family to attend college, and, because I decided to change the family system, I’m accomplishing one of my dreams. For those students who want to continue their education, all I have to say is to continue finding your way up and not let anyone change your opinion about going to college. There is always a point where we need to break a barrier, and so I say, let’s break the barrier with education!

I believe that Northeastern Illinois University has supported first generation students by providing an affordable education. The university also exposes us to instructors who have a great deal of experience in their field of teaching. These teachers then bring their knowledge to the class setting and share it with us. I firmly believe that we, as students, learn more from real-life situations as compared to textbook learning. The university also has a diverse population and by interacting with other people from other cultures you can learn many new things.

About the Student

Evelia Moreno

My name is Evelia Moreno and my ancestors are from Mexico. I came to the United States in 1990. In 2004, I graduated from Kelvyn Park High School. After graduation, instead of enrolling in college, I searched for a better job. I did not enroll in college because of financial reasons. I’m a student at Northeastern Illinois University thanks to my boyfriend, Rene Quinonez, who has been helping me pay for several classes. For seven years, Rene and I have been working together to succeed in life. My top priority is to finish school and then get married.  

Student Stats

Name: Evelia Moreno (2011)
Age: 25
Year in School: Junior
Major: Communication, Media and Theatre
Favorite Course: Introduction to Video Production
Dream Job: Freelance Photographer

About the School

NIU logo

Like many institutions of higher learning, NEIU traces its roots to the beginning of teacher training. Northeastern was founded in 1867 in Blue Island, Illinois, as the Normal School, Cook County’s first teacher training institution. NEIU has a rich tradition of educational innovation and prides itself in preparing teachers and administrators who make a difference in Chicago. That tradition continues to this day and has expanded to include all of the University’s academic disciplines, allowing the University to fully embrace the community in which it resides.



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