Maverick Firsts Stories

Every year Maverick Firsts hosts at least one Finding Your Place storytelling event. These events feature first-generation alumni, students, faculty, and staff sharing their college stories.

Below are several stories shared at a recent Finding Your Place event. After these stories you will find links to similar stories from others around the country.

Christopher Brown, Driven by Fear: The Trappings of Curiosity

Dr. Brown is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies here at Minnesota State, Mankato. He currently serves as the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State.

Gina Maahs-Zurbey, Who Would Have Ever Thought

For many years Gina served as an Academic Advisor in the College of Arts in Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is currently the Assistant Registrar at Minnesota State.

Michael Torres, Confessions of a First-Generation College Student

At the time of this story, Michael was a graduate student in Minnesota State’s creative writing program. He currently serves as an instructor in that program.

Sylvia Vue, Navigating Two Worlds: A Bi-Cultural Experience

After several years working in Student Affairs, Sylvia is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota.


Here are a few films produced by individuals not affiliated with Minnesota State University, Mankato. Enjoy.

  • First-Generation - A documentary file following four first-generation students
  • Personal Statement - A file featuring three seniors in a Brooklyn, New York High School working to get into college
  • A Walk in My Shoes - A film produced by the College of Education at Kansas State University
  • Unlikely - A file exploring "America's college dropout crisis and the barriers students face in their pursuit of a college degree and meaningful career"