Western Illinois University

Edith Garcia (2018)

My First Generation Story

"Grow with the flow." I remind myself of this everyday. I have encountered countless opportunities working with dedicated professors who continue to push me everyday and guide me through memorable events.

I made the transition to college well, even though it was my first time away from home. As I started planning my first semester schedule with my adviser Keri Allison, I signed up for my first recreation, park and tourism administration (RPTA) class, "Intro to Leisure," with Dr. Jeremy Robinett. I was immediately hooked.

I wasn't aware that RPTA could be a major option, but I'm glad I found my passion at the beginning of my college career. Through the RPTA department and WIU's Centennial Honors College, I have had several opportunities to enhance my networking and leadership skills. Being an Honors student has pushed me to think outside the box and challenge myself. Dr. Dan Yoder, chair of the RPTA department, has also had faith in me to represent the department, speaking to WIU RPTA alumni at conferences to help raise money for scholarships.

I've been fortunate to receive the department's mentor scholarship, and I have been awarded the 2017 RPTA Developing Scholar. I recently accepted the position of president for the Student Recreation Society, and am a member of Rho Phi Lambda Honor Society. I am a student worker for the RPTA department and this past summer, I stepped away from my aquatics job, which I have held for five summers, and served as a camp counselor for the Elmhurst Park District. Along with the many accomplishments that have shaped my college experience here at Western, being a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. is a part of my success as well. Within the organization, I hold the positions of academic chair and treasurer, and I am proud to say that I am part of the first Latin sorority in the nation!

I've always liked the idea of leading and encouraging others to have a better future, and being a peer mentor for First Year Experience students has allowed me to further develop leadership skills. I am a peer mentor because I want students to be informed about what Western has to offer. I want to encourage others to use the resources available and to take advantage of their time in college. It can be hard to transition to college, and easy to pick up bad habits, so as a peer mentor it is important to guide new students and give them an extra push to succeed.

I am truly grateful for all the opportunities I have received this far. I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of professors, mentors, friends and the WIU community.

About the Student

Edith Garcia Resized

I'm from the Chicago suburb of Maywood, and I'm part of a family of five: two older siblings; a younger sister; and our mother, who keeps us sane. I am the first member of my family to attend a four-year university, and I couldn't be more proud to call myself a Western Illinois University (WIU) Leatherneck.

Student Stats

Name: Edith Garcia (2018)
Age: 21
Year in School: Junior
Major: Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration (RPTA)
Favorite Course: RPTA 240 (which included planning a day camp for kids in grades K-8, as well as those with special needs)
Dream Job: Park District Director

About the School

img-Edith Garcia Western Illinois University_Logo.jpg

Western Illinois University empowers students, faculty and staff to lead dynamic and diverse communities. We provide student-centered undergraduate and graduate programs characterized by innovative teaching, research and service, grounded in interdisciplinary, regional and global perspectives. We engage our students in educational opportunities guided by a professional and diverse faculty and staff in collaboration with alumni and community partners.



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