First-Generation Center


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 53% 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.



Jaime Pena Jr.

Jaime Peña Jr.

Assistant Director, First-Gen Center
NGL Office #212

Book Appointment

Jose Herrera

Jose Herrera

Director, First-Gen Center

NGL Office #214

Book Appointment

Dr. Kay Angrove

Dr. Kay Angrove

Executive Director, First-Year Experience & First-Gen Center

CHSS Suite #190

Office Hours

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


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

First-Gen Faculty/Staff Advisory Board

The Advisory Board collaborates to support first-gen students with programing and mentoring. The board members also provide feedback on first-gen initiatives. All colleges are represented by an advisory board member. The majority of advisory board members are first-gen.

Advisory Board Members:

- Penelope Hasekoester (College of Arts and Media)
- Dr. William Ellegood (College of Business Administration)
- Dr. John Navarro (College of Criminal Justice)
- Dr. Ricardo Montelongo (College of Education)
- Dr. Mayrena Hernandez (College of Health Sciences)
- Dr. Jorge Varela (College of Humanities and Social Sciences)
- Brent Mowdy (College of Osteopathic Medicine)
- Dr. Li-Jen Lester (College of Science & Engineering Technology)
- Marissa Aldana (The Graduate School)
- Kendall Gragert (Honors College)
- Dr. Lydia Fox (McNair Scholars Program Director)
- Kelly Stuckey (TRiO Director)
- Breanna Dotson (Student Activities)
- Danyela Saldana (Financial Aid)