Kansas State University


First Scholars

Author: Alexus Lacy

April/May Newsletter

We have reached the end of the semester! It is a rewarding time for the Scholars as they have reached the end of another school year and for some, they are reaching the end of their undergraduate studies.

This April we celebrated the Scholars and all of their academic achievement as well as the program’s first graduating cohort! At the First Scholars Families Reception and Celebration, the scholars and their parents were celebrated for their accomplishments. There was a full house with near two hundred people
in attendance. Diane Schorr, Executive Director of the Suder Foundation, shared words of wisdom with the scholars and their families. She also presented Dr. Steven Dandaneau, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, with the First-Gen Champion award. The senior cohort received a small gift from the Suder Foundation as a token of appreciation for their hard work and accomplishments.

During the reception, scholars received leadership awards and peer nominated awards. Students receiving leadership awards were Jesse Carr, Meagan Haresnape, Delante Madden, Karina Michel-Moncaya, Ashleigh Weigel, and Coraima Yañez. Coraima Yañez in recognition for steady leadership through academics and active involvement on campus. Delante Madden in recognition of outstanding leadershipand service to others within the First Scholars Program. Megan Haresnape in recognition of outstanding
leadership in the Pay -it -Forward position within the First Scholars Program. Jessie Carr, in recognition of outstanding leadership through the sophomore learning service project with the 4-H Verde Clovers. Ashleigh Weigel in recognition of diligence, engagement and commitment to the pursuit of education at Kansas State University. Karina Michel-Moncayo, in recognition of leadership displayed through strong character, responsibility and professionalism within the First Scholars Program.

The following students were nominated by their peers for various awards. Courage Award presented to Sarah McFarlene for having the courage to overcome obstacles. Triple First Award presented to Ashley Coleman in recognition of being the first of the first First Scholars students to graduate from K-State. Unforgettable Award presented to Jordan Roth for reminding us through his amazing actions how he can never be forgotten. Best Chris Pratt Look-alike Award presented to Tyler Sipes for not only looking like Christ Pratt but also for perfect imitation and personification. The Father Figure Award presented to Enrique Salas for exemplifying responsibility, trustworthiness and a caring attitude to the freshmen First Scholars cohort. Most Talented Award presented to Alicia Flach for her mastery in playing several instruments. Best Ever Papa G Award presented to Gerald Frayre in recognition for developing strong community among the first-year students, and an exceptional commitment to the students’ overall adjustment and success. The GOAT Award, Greatest of All Time, presented to Efrain Reyes in recognition of consistent engagement with and encouragement to the first-year cohort, and reminding us, with the greatest smile and attitude, that the grind does not stop. Katie Arpin and Lauren Ewing were awarded the Best Aunties Award in recognition of their two genuinely caring hearts toward for the younger freshman cohort, and gently reminding them to keep working hard and do well in school. Brother Bear Award presented to Brian Hernandez-Mota in recognition for being the best little brother to the freshman cohort. Most Impactful Senior Award presented to Delante Madden in recognition of outreach and dedication to the younger cohorts of the First Scholars Program. The Dynamic Duo Award presented to Sydney Weaver and Alexis Smith in recognition for being inseparable and providing a listening ear to their peers. The Big Sister Award presented to Shaylyn Ballard in recognition of always looking out for all of her First Scholars peers.

What are the senior’s plans?

Tyler Aden will be interning with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, OH.
Ashley Coleman graduated early and is Mobile Team Lead Engineer with Homebase.
Jerrod Conley has accepted a job as a Avionics Manufacturing Engineer with Craig Technologies in Cape Canaveral, FL.
Adam Koch is pursuing a doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Kansas.
Kaleb Koerperich has accepted a position as a Project Engineer with Lang Construction Group in Des Moines, IA.
Callie Reynolds plans to attend graduate school where she will obtain a Masters Degree in Social Work.
Anthony Vitale will be graduating in the Spring of 2019 with a degree in Civil Engineering.
Simran Malhi will be working as a Software Engineer with Accend Learning in Leawood, KS.
Rachel Meyers is choosing among eight law schools to attend in the fall.
Karina Michel is pursuing a master’s degree in College Student Development at Kansas State University.
Brandon Heide has accepted a structural architecture internship with Perkins Eastman in New York City.
Jacob Loecker has accepted an internship with Interpres Building Solutions in Springfield, MO.
Delante Madden will graduate in the fall of 208 with a degree in Psychology.
Ansley Herzog will graduate this spring with a degree in Business Management.
Josh Woods will graduate this spring with a degree in Business Administration.
Taylor Underwood will be graduating this spring with a degree in Hospitality Management.

Congratulations to the following scholars as they pursue new adventures!

Isaiah Solorzano presented research at Developing Scholars Symposium.
Jesse Carr has taken a position with the Verde Clovers
Corima Yanez will be going to Kenya with the International Service Team at K-State.
Brianna Jackson will being traveling to Italy with the Study Abroad program.
Tyler Shaddock and Juan de Santiago will be traveling to China for two weeks through a cultural exchange programs with the Confucius Institute at K-State.

Important Dates

May 4th – Spring 2018 Term Ends
May 7th -11th – Spring 2018 Term Examinations
May 12th – Undergraduate Commencement
May 12th – Residence halls close at 1:00 pm
May 14th – May 2018 Intersession Begins
May 16th – Term Final Grades Available in KSIS

April Birthdays

Denisse Reyes- April 4th
Sarah McFarlane- April 18th
Ansley Herzog- April 27th

May Birthdays

Essence Rush- May 1st
Karina Michel- May 7th
Martin Ortega- May 12th
Noah Aeillo- May 13th
Montezia Shakespear- May 15th
Gerado Hernandez- May 23th
Enrique Salas- May 25th
Shaylyn Ballard- May 28th

Farewell to the Seniors as you move forward into the next chapter of your lives. We hope everyone has a great summer filled with fun and joy.

March Newsletter

Another month has passed, and the First Scholars have been very busy with various group activities and personal triumphs. First Scholars joined together this month to go Ice Skating together as well as attend the Sound of Music. The students were able to bond and make memories together, outside of school.
The First Scholars started off the month of March celebrating the talent of First Generation students on campus. Alongside the First-Generation Student Organization, the First Scholars hosted a First-Generation Student Talent Show. The talent show featured fourteen students, representing the First Scholars, Developing Scholars Program, Kauffman Scholars, and the First Generation Students Organization who showcased their talent in various ways. Hosted by First Scholar Delante Madden and First-Generation Student Diamond Sampson, the talent show featured singers, dancers, poets, and musicians.

A huge thank you goes out to our judges: Dr. Steve Dandaneau, Ms. Nidhi Bhandari, Mr. Brent Weaver, and Ms. Joy Chen.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to help out with our event!

Winning first place was Ty Aden for his poem “59”, a poem about prime numbers and love.

Second place went to Maria Vieyra for her artwork, “Frida, Papaya, and Me.”

Briana Jackson won third place for her dance performance and Alan Ramirez was named Honorable Mention for his freestyle dance solo.

While not everyone won a prize, all our scholars are winners. One thing is for certain, we have some truly talented First Scholars!

Recently, the sophomores worked yet again with the Riley County Verde Clovers. The Verde Clovers is a 4-H program for multicultural children. Dedicated to positive multicultural youth development, the Verde Clovers meet monthly. This year, sophomores have paired up with the program as peer mentors and have dedicated time to working with the members of the Verde Clovers. On March 12th, Scholars alongside K-State’s Men of Vision joined the Verde Clovers for a community meal as well as activities. The Scholars assisted the younger children as they completed a STEM activity focused on Engineering.

While the younger children completed a STEM activity, the older kids were assisted by the Scholars as they learned about and registered for 4-H Discovery Days. The evening was filled with joy and laughter with both the Scholars and members of the Verde Clovers enjoying their time together.

Congratulations are in order for some of our Senior First Scholars. Adam Koch was accepted into a Physical Therapy Doctoral Program at Kansas University that will start this summer. Karina Michel is pursuing a Masters in Student Development. We will be updating you in the next newsletter about our intelligent seniors as they decide their post-grad plans.

We want to take a moment to shout out our First Scholars Ambassadors. The ambassadors took time out of their busy schedules to call potential program recruits. After many hours and many phone calls, the First Scholars Ambassadors were able to get a number of students to apply for the program. The ambassadors still have a few more events this semester. Thank you to the First Scholars Ambassadors for all your hard work!

Scholars, mark March 30th in your calendars as an activist, feminist, and labor leader Delores Huerta will be visiting K-State. K-State’s HALO, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, and Office of Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs in the Division of Student Life will be hosting the event. Delores Huerta will speak on Friday, March 30th at 7:00 p.m. in K-State Student Union’s Grand Ballroom. It is sure to be a great evening!

Important Dates

• March 26th: Last day to drop a regular session course
• March 29th- March 30th: Pay It Forward position interviews
• March 26th- April 20th: Enrollment for Summer/Fall 2018 Terms
• April 21st: First Scholars Family Reception and Celebration

Kat Chats Dates

• March 27th: Extinguishing Burnout

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to the following Frist Scholars!

March Birthdays

• Jordan Roth- March 5th
• Alexis Smith- March 16th
• Coraima Yanez- March 18th
• Zachory Allred- March 25th
• Rachel Meyers- March 27th
• Emma Claybrook- March 28th

Please look ahead and mark your calendars for the First Scholars Family Reception and Celebration. This will be a fun-filled time celebrating our First Scholars accomplishments and our first graduating class. This event will be held on April 21st, 2018 from 12-2pm in the Union Ballroom. We hope you will all join us!

February Newsletter

Welcome back! The Spring semester is well underway, and the First Scholars are back and already working very hard. Last semester proved to be a successful one with graduation, scholarships, and various academic honors.

Ashley Coleman graduated in December, making him the first graduate of the K-State First Scholars program.

Katie Gehring, junior First Scholar, received the Goss Discovery Scholarship. She is currently spending the Spring Semester studying in Granada, Spain.

Congratulations are in order for the following First Scholars as they made the Honors List last semester: Ashley Coleman, Julie Demel, Gabby Doebele, Alicia Flack, Katie Gehring, Megan Haresnape, Ansley Herzog, Wes Jennings, Adam Koch, Rachel Meyers, Denise Reyes, Callie Reynolds, Jordan Roth, and Jasmin Williams.

January 27th the Junior and Senior First Scholars attended a retreat that featured various speakers and topics. The Seniors had a workshop on identifying and responding to micro-aggressions given by Richele Dadian, a psychology intern with Counseling Services. Dr. Dawne Martin, Assistant Dean for Diversity and member of the College of Business, spoke about how to prepare for the workplace. The Freshmen and Sophomore scholars joined the Juniors and Seniors to listen to the seniors present their Senior Legacy Projects. Junior scholars were spoken to by Ms. Liz Penton and Ms. Anastasia Delgado about how to avoid falling into binge drinking during their college years. Ms. Aliah Mestrovich-Seay spoke and provided an eye-opening activity over privilege and how privilege plays a role in everyone’s life. Finally, Mr. Trent McGee, K-State 360 Coordinator, spoke to the Juniors about the value of student engagement.

There are several important dates to keep in mind during this month of February. First being the Ice Skating Party for all cohorts on February 11th, 7:30- 9:00 pm. The First Scholars Talent Show will take place at Forum Hall on March 1st, 7:00-9:00 pm. If interested in participating, contact Rebeca via email: rpaz@ksu.edu. Other important dates such as Withdraw/Drop deadlines and Kat Chats are listed below.

Withdraw/Drop Dates

  • Monday, February 5th- Last day to drop a regular session course for 100% refund.
  • Monday, February 12th- Last day to drop a regular session course for 50% refund.
  • Tuesday, February 20th- Last day to drop a regular session course without a W being recorded.
  • Monday, March 26th- Last day to drop a regular session course.

Kat Chat Dates

  • Tuesday, February 6th- Connection the Dots: Recognizing Depression
  • Tuesday, February 13th- The Language of Love
  • Tuesday, February 20th- Don’t Stress! De-Stress!
  • Tuesday, February 27th- Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Disorders: Not Just Female Problems

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to the following First Scholars!

January/February Birthdays

  • Gabriella Doebele- January 1st
  • Joshua Woods- January 11th
  • Elisha Stone- January 12th
  • Sequoyah Morabito- January 13th
  • Karol Suarez- January 16th
  • Jessie Carr- January 31st
  • Juan de Santiago- January 31st
  • Julie Demel- February 11th
  • Ashley Weigel- January 21st
  • Alicia Flach- February 22nd
  • Trae Mosher-Cherry- February 28th

Please join us at the First Generation Student Talent Show! It is sure to be a fun filled evening showcasing the talents of our First Generation Students!
As we work our way through the Spring semester, continue to work hard Scholars. Keep up the hard work and most importantly, make yourselves proud!


November and December Newsletter

Hello First Scholars! It’s December and that means Winter break is coming up soon! Here’s what’s been going on in First Scholars!

On November 3-4, our sophomore cohort was joined by a few other students of the K-State community to attend the Ad Astra Conference in Wichita, KS to learn more about what it means to be a first-generation student and what they can do to thrive during their time in college. Students engaged in large-group activities as well as smaller break-out sessions where they were able to learn about various topics, such as leadership and professional development.

November 8th was a wonderful day filled with celebrations for first generation students all across the nation. From 11:30-1:30, the film “A Walk in My Shoes” was shown in the Student Union by the First Generation Student Organization. Later in the evening, the First Scholars hosted a reception to welcome Deb and Eric Suder. The Suders also attended the first year class where students shared their first-gen stories. We would like to thank our activity coordinators for putting on a great celebration and to everyone who participated!

Sequoyah Morabito and Alejandro Martinez engage in a conversation with Eric Suder.

Ansley Herzog tells something funny to Deb Suder and Delante Madden.

Each year the sophomore cohort of students participate in a service-learning project. This year, the cohort is working with Verde Clovers. “Each member of the cohort has been assigned a key role to ensure the success of this organization. Many are peer mentors and have been assigned a group of mentees ranging from around 2-5 per group which also vary in age. For those who are not mentors are helping coordinate meals, activities,, etc. During the last meeting we held a Thanksgiving meal, most of the food was donated however there were also a few families which brought their own food to add to the meal. We then had a bilingual activity to engage both the mentors and mentees, we have had STEM activities which include various science experiments in the past. We begin each meeting with an ice breaker, have a meal, and then go into the activity planned for the week. Aliah Mestrovich-Seay and John Jobe, Verde Clovers Organizers, came to the first scholar’s class to train us and teach us about diversity inclusion.” Lauren Ewing, sophomore.

November Birthdays

Katie Arpiin 11/2

Brianna Jackson 11/4

Jasmine Williams 11/18

Mandie Bennett 11/27/17

Adam Koch 11/5

Simran Malhi 11/1


December Birthdays

Jacqueline Ayala 12/

Callie Reynolds 12/22

Kaleb Koerperich 12/29

Sami Mooneyham 12/30


Dates to Remember:

December 11-15 Finals Week

December 15-January 15- Winter Break

December 20- Fall 2017 grades available on KsIS

Tuesday, January 16- Spring Semester begins


Have a happy holiday season and winter break!

Remember to follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @KState1stSchol https://twitter.com/KState1stSchol


September Newsletter

Welcome First Scholars! The Fall 2017 semester kicked off with a retreat to Rock Creek 4-H camp, where the freshmen cohort as well as the peer mentors were able to spend time together in activities, canoeing, and listening to a panel of sophomore scholars talk about their experiences.

“Having a bonfire with friends… no family, while having s’mores and enjoying Enrique’s guitar music in the background under the stars felt out of this world” – Brian, H., Freshman

Welcome to First Scholars! Pictured left to right:

Back row- Cody 16’, Gerald 16’, Juan 16’, Gerardo, Tanner, Brian, Sequoyah, Lauren 16’ , Zach, Sarah, Aubrey, Ashley, Alejandro, Rebeca

Front row: Elisha, Karol, Ashlie, Katie 16’, Enrique, Sydney, Kiara, Alexis, Tyler, Shaylyn

The Sophomore cohort will be attending the Ad Astra Conference, November

In September, the junior and senior cohorts each participated in retreat weekends

Junior Cohort:

The Juniors met for their annual fall retreat in September where they talked about their Pay It Forward Projects and are doing a great job in their respective roles.  Some serve as peer mentors, some serve as ambassadors and others work as event coordinators. Please ask them about how they are paying back to the  program!  Thank you, Dr. Steve Dandaneau for engaging us in important reflections on social responsibility. Thank you, Dr. Stephanie Bannister for helping us understand the importance of managing our energy in our role of students and leaders of K-State. The juniors have started their semester strong!


Seniors: (picture above)

Eighty five percent of the seniors who started together four years ago are in course to graduate. This is a great accomplishment, seniors! The senior retreat took place in early September. During this time, the seniors heard from dedicated university faculty and staff about preparing for interviews and leaving social media footprints. Thanks, Ms. Pat Hutchins, and Dr. Roger McHaney for investing your time in First Scholars. The seniors are also working on their legacy projects.

A message from Rebeca, First Scholars Program Director:

Dear First Scholars,

We hope your semester is going well.   Please welcome the new students who  are eager to meet all the members of the  First Scholars family. We now have a full grown program-that means that our first class will be graduating in May. The seniors are  busy looking for employment, interviewing, or looking at graduation. Please ask them about their plans after graduation when you see them!  All cohorts have been busy with school, work and cohort activities.

Please know that we are here for you to help you succeed academically and help you reach your goals and dreams. Keep up the good work, we are proud of you!


A message from Gerald:

“Hello, my name is Gerald Frayre and I am the new Residential Learning Assistant for the First Scholars! I am a sophomore from Garden City, Kansas studying Chemical Engineering. As the year begins, I am excited to learn about the different backgrounds and perspectives each one of the freshmen First Scholars is bringing to K-State, but also the various challenges they each had to overcome to be here.”

A message from Liz

Liz Penton is the new graduate assistant for the First Scholars Program. She is from Topeka, KS and attended Kansas State University during her undergraduate career where she earned her B.S., Communication Science and Disorders. Liz is currently attending Kansas State University to earn her M.S., in Higher Education: College Student Development. She enjoys anything outdoors and cheering on the Cats outside of class. Welcome, Liz!

Happy Birthday to you!

Taylor Underwood 10/6

Alejandro Martinez 10/7

Ashley Coleman and Gerald Frayre 10/13

Kaitlin Gehring 10/16

Important Dates:

October 29 Pumpkin Patch at Britt’s Farms with all scholars. Meet at 5:45 PM.

October 27th is the last day to drop a regular session course

Enrollment is coming up soon! Check your KSIS account to see what time you enroll!

November 8: First Generation Student Celebration Day


Find us on social media!


Twitter: @kstate1stschol

Facebook: Kansas State University First Scholars

Instagram: @kstate_first_scholars

Find us on campus and learn about the First Scholars Program!

All events are held on the Union Ground Floor!

Event Date Time
Senior Day October 16th 8:15-9:30
Transfer Student Visit Day October 23rd 8:45-10:00
Senior Day November 3rd 8:!5-9:30
Senior Day November 10th 8:!5- 9:30
Junior Day November 13th 8:00-9:00
Junior Day December 1st 8:00-9:00
Junior Day December 4th 8:00-9:00
Junior Day December 8th 8:00-9:00