Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Donna Humphrey

Donna Maria Humphrey

Name: Donna Maria Humphrey

Hometown: Las Vegas

Role on campus: Retired Assistant to the director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion 

Years on campus: 3

Did you or do you have plans to continue your education beyond a four-year degree? I hope to graduate with my master’s degree in May!

Why did you choose Chico? I was an employee and I love the positive energy on campus.

What first sparked your interest in a college education? I decided to go to college when I was 34 years old (and had three children under the age of 10) and began working at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The driving force behind going back to school to get my degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s) was the desire to contribute to a conversation. There were times that faculty and staff members would be carrying on a conversation and I did not know much about the topic.

What were some barriers that prevented others in your family from completing a four-year degree? My mom and her family immigrated to the United States when my Mom was 12; her first language is not English so school was a struggle. My dad was born in 1923 to farmers and finishing school was not a priority. My dad finished eighth grade and eventually joined the military.

Who can you point to as a mentor or inspiration in your pursuit of a four-year degree and why? I had a few educators at Solano Community College who were my mentors. Dr. Karen McCord taught psychology, she showed me that no matter what, if you want an education and work hard, you can do it. I will always remember her and hope that she will attend my graduation from my master’s program in May 2018.

What does being first-gen mean to you? I was able to go to college and earn a four-year degree, even though I had no idea what to do and where to start. My siblings do not have four-year degrees.

What challenges do you struggle with or have you overcome as a result of being first-gen? I did not grow up with much understanding of college, I was told to take typing and accounting so I could get a job that paid more than minimum wage and offered benefits.

What is your wildest ambition? My wildest ambition is to graduate in May with my master’s degree and teach a class at Chico State, while continuing to be a staff member.

What message do you want to send other first-gen students? To know that with hard work and determination, they can graduate with their bachelor’s degree and maybe even earn a doctorate.