First-Generation Stories: Lisandra Jimenez

Editor’s Note: First-Generation Student Recognition Day is Thursday, Nov. 8. New College of Florida is celebrating first-generation students by telling some of their stories.

When she graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership, Lisandra Jimenez knew just who to thank for helping her make it across the stage to receive her diploma: Mami y Papi. After all, it was her mom and dad who supported her career aspirations and made it possible for her to pursue higher education.

Lisandra Jimenez, with her mortar board, after receiving her master's degree.
Lisandra Jimenez, with her mortar board, after receiving her master’s degree.

“My parents were very supportive,” said Jimenez. “They couldn’t help me with college applications, but they wouldn’t let me work in high school. They told me going to school was my job.”

Her parents were her main source of support and encouragement, though she never felt pressured.

“The motivation came naturally to me,” recalled Jimenez. “I saw my parents working and sacrificing so I could go to college, and that was my inspiration.”

Jimenez, who is working on a doctorate degree in higher education administration at Northeastern University, is now a source of inspiration and support to other first-generation students.

“I have cousins who pursued higher education and came to me for advice,” said Jimenez. “My parents tell their friends about my accomplishments, and some of their children reach out to me for help.”

Jimenez recently joined New College as the assistant director for career readiness and employability at the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity, where she helps students prepare to join the workforce every day.

“Everything is coming full circle for me. I’m working on my thesis on Latinx higher ed students, their experiences and how they persevere.”


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre bay front campus is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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