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Debbie Nyakaru

Meet Debbie Nyakaru

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
College: College of Agriculture and Life Science
Major: Global and Public Health Services
Year: 2020

To me, being first-generation means navigating the complexities of college in the most intentional way. First-generation students understand the privileges of an opportunity like a college education because we have seen a life without one and the challenges it can bring. It means not being able to lean on family for support in navigating school but being wise because of this. I have found support in my first-generation identity because I have had the opportunity to meet other first-gens and learn from their stories and experiences. First-gen students on Cornell's campus continue to inspire me.

My family continues to motivate me to accomplish my goals becauase they are proud of me despite what I think of myself and my abilities. They ground me and remind me of the big picture when I am in the thick of life here at school. I remind myself to not let my identity as a first-generation student limit my from taking advantage of all that Cornell has to offer.