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First-Generation Student Lays Path for Siblings

Nov. 8 marks the 54th anniversary of the Higher Education Act, and Salt Lake Community College is joining institutions across the country in celebrating the presence and experiences of first-generation college students. Join SLCC first-generation students Nov. 7, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus (Student Event Center), South City Campus (Student Forum), Jordan Campus (JHS Foyer) and West Valley Center for food, games, a panel discussion and fun.

The college is also featuring personal stories of first-generation students. This is Nadia's story.

Nadia Yahyapourroshankouhi


My family and I are from Sari, Iran. We migrated to Turkey when I was 12 years old and then we came to the United States after two years of living in Turkey.

Family history:
Growing up in Iran with the Bahai had many difficulties. People of my religion were not allowed to hold government jobs or decent jobs and were stuck with jobs others did not want to do like plumber, mechanic, house painter and field workers. We could not vote, attend university after high school or participate in rallies and marches. Many of our religious leaders are in prison for simply being Bahai, and the government has shut down many Bahai businesses for simply existing. In Iran, my father tried opening his own mechanic shop, but the government did not give him a permit to open his shop because of his religion. These reasons influenced why we left Iran. I was bullied in school for my religion by my peers, and they isolated me from doing activities and sports with everyone because of my religion. It was like they saw us an inferior people and treated us poorly. My family and I migrated to the United States to look for better job opportunities and freedom. We face language barrier difficulties in our daily lives, but that does not prevent us from moving forward.  

Why others before you haven’t gone to college:
Because growing up in Iran with the Bahai religion was a challenge for them. The government did not allow Bahai’s to attend colleges and universities solely based on their religion. My family and I left Iran so my siblings and I can pursue our dreams of becoming successful.

Why you chose SLCC over other schools:
I chose Salt Lake Community College over other schools because it is closer to my house and the city. Another reason I chose this school is that it is less expensive than other schools, yet it offers many great degrees and classes. I did some research and found that Salt Lake Community College works closely with the University of Utah and has a high rate of transfer to the U of U.

What you like about SLCC:
I like the diversity of Salt Lake Community College and the involvement of students with the community. I enjoy hanging out with friends at the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. I have met many interesting, uniqu, and diverse people in that office and have become friends with most of them. I also enjoy the tutoring and support services the college offers to students.

Favorite memories so far at SLCC:
Most of my fun memories at the college are with people in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, because we share common interests and enjoy conversating with each other. I enjoy all the free gear, free food and events that happen at the student center. You can find many things happening at the college every day, and I enjoy attending random events between classes.

What being a first-generation student means to you and others:
Being a first-generation college student to me means discovering new things and testing boundaries. To me being first-gen means finding schools, classes and resources on my own and making a path for my siblings to follow and not have to be first-time learners about college resources. My family and friends are proud of me for attending college as the first person in our family because no one in my family has gone to college before me.

What kinds of support have you found for first-generation students:
I have found some scholarships and support services available to first-generation students. I find that asking questions helps me understand the college system better and get prepared for my career efficiently.

Dream job:

Plan B:
If I had to choose another career path, I would choose to be a chemist or a job in criminology.

Plans after SLCC:
My plans after Salt Lake Community College are to transfer to my dream school, the University of Utah, and get a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Then, I want to attend the School of Dentistry at the University of Utah to become an orthodontist.

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