Mathews shares her stories as first-generation student

Shannon Mathews, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, shares her story and experience as a first-generation college student at the “Our Stories” event Tuesday in the Hanawalt House Courtyard. The event, held in honor of International Women’s Day, was meant to highlight impactful voices on campus. / photo by Jingyao Liang
Shannon Mathews, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, shares her story and experience as a first-generation college student at the “Our Stories” event Tuesday in the Hanawalt House Courtyard. The event, held in honor of International Women’s Day, was meant to highlight impactful voices on campus. / photo by Jingyao Liang

Joslyn Aguilar
Staff Writer

The University’s First Generation and Peer Mentoring program hosted “Our Stories” featuring Shannon Mathews, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who shared her personal journey Tuesday in the Hanawalt House courtyard before about 20 community members.

Zion Grant-Freeman, senior year psychology major, hosted the event, which took place Tuesday afternoon in the Hanawalt House courtyard. 

Mathews shared some of the challenges she faced as a Black woman and the first  in her family to graduate from a four-year college.

Growing up in Pomona, Mathews said, she was lucky enough to have teachers who looked like her – teachers of color – something many first generation students do not experience. Education was the place she could grow and better herself.

After graduating from Ganesha High School, she went on to Pomona College in Claremont, where she really had the experience of being a minority, with hurtful remarks and microaggressions. 

“But where I grew up, we weren’t allowed to show fear or be punked,” Mathews said.

Freeman also related his story as a student and a Black man. 

Unlike Mathews, he said he did not see teachers who looked like him throughout his primary schooling.

Following the presentations were comments. 

“Many people have those instances where we feel like we weren’t ready for that, or imposter syndrome,” said Juan Regalado, chief student affairs officer.

Matthews said her faith helped her believe “that the doors that open for me are meant for me. I don’t believe in imposter syndrome,” Mathews said. “I go the flip side. If the seat was opened for me and I’m in the seat, I own it. I belong in the seat.”

Kenneth Lorenzana, junior accounting major, said he was inspired by the talk.

“I really enjoyed Zion and Dr. Mathews’ stories regarding how they pushed through many barriers in their life to get to where they are today,” Lorenzana said. 

Joslyn Aguilar can be reached at joslyn.aguilar@laverne.edu.

Other Stories

Joslyn Aguilar, a junior communications major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Other Stories

Jingyao Liang, a junior business administration major and photography minor, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Stories

Related articles

Identity and setting highlighted in author’s lecture

Bryan Washington, author of “Lot” and “Memorial” and assistant professor of creative writing at Rice University, spoke about setting and how identity fits into writing stories during his Frederick Douglass Human Rights Lecture on Feb. 23 in the Morgan Auditorium. 

Lavatori explores human interaction in the works of Amélie Nothomb

Gerard Lavatori, interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presented his essay "Body Shaming and Redemption in the Fiction of Amélie Nothomb" Tuesday in the Quay Davis Executive Boardroom.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List, Fall 2022

College of Arts and Sciences dean's list for Fall 2022.

La Verne reflects on its artful past

University of La Verne staff and faculty introduced “An Artful Reframing,” a collaborative effort to reflect on the University's history and shine a light on previously underrepresented voices, before about 25 community members in the Campus Center Ballroom Monday, with 19 more who joined via Zoom.