Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Tasha Alexander

Tasha Alexander

Hometown: Santa Cruz

Role on campus: Project director of TRIO Student Support Services

Years on campus: 16

Did you or do you have plans to continue your education beyond a four-year degree? I earned an MA.

Why did you choose Chico? Chico Stated looked like the universities I had seen in movies!

What first sparked your interest in a college education? My parents insisted that I get a degree so that I didn’t have the same struggles and roadblocks in life that they had.

What were some barriers that prevented others in your family from completing a four-year degree? Lack of financial resources, having children early in life, and fear of failure.

What does being first-gen mean to you? It means gratitude. To my parents for pushing me to get a degree so that I could choose a career path I love and have financial security; to my mentors for helping me navigate the path and be bolder than I thought possible; and to my younger self for having been brave enough to take big risks and for having had the grit to stay the course.

What challenges do you struggle with or have you overcome as a result of being first-gen? The imposter syndrome is still a factor. As the first person in my family to have a job that requires a college degree, I still can’t believe I work at a university and collaborate on a daily basis with so many sophisticated professionals and scholars!

What is your wildest ambition? To have my house paid off by the time I retire so that I can be the first in my family to enjoy a stress-free retirement.

What message do you want to send other first-gen students? I would quote bell hooks who reminds us that “education is the practice of freedom.” I would also quote my dad who used to tell me “No one can ever take your education away from you.” Please don’t take your education for granted—it the biggest gift you can give to your futuer self.