First-Generation Center

Please pledge to support our first-generation students!

We would like to add your name and contact information to the First-Generation Center website, so our students can reach out to someone who has been in their shoes. Please add your name to our list via this short survey.

What is a First-Generation Student?

A student is considered first-generation if neither parent nor guardian earned a bachelor’s degree in the United States. Approximately 50% of our students are first-generation students!

Being first-generation is something to be extremely proud of. At Sam Houston State University, we recognize that as a first-generation student, you will face unique experiences as you begin this exciting journey. We look forward to supporting you and bringing together our first-generation Bearkats.

The First-Generation Center is here to assist you in navigating higher education and connecting with SHSU’s community of first-generation students, faculty and staff who will support and encourage you throughout your entire academic journey. The First-Generation Center staff has been in your footsteps as they are also first-generation.


The SHSU First-Generation Center is dedicated to helping first-generation students and their families navigate their university experience.

One-on-One Help

If you have any questions or need support, you can make an appointment with our team (below) and we will connect you to the appropriate resources. If it is urgent, then please come see us as we have an open-door policy for all students.



Joe Contreras

Joe Contreras

Executive Director, First-Gen Center
Office #213

Book Appointment

Jaime Pena Jr.

Jaime Pena Jr.

Assistant Director, First-Gen Center
Office #212

Book Appointment

Office Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Newton Gresham Library, Main (2nd) Floor
1830 Bobby K Marks Drive, Huntsville, TX 77340