First-generation student brings unique perspective to SGA


Joseph Barringhaus

Newly-appointed honors senator Maribel Sanchez is a first-generation college student and a 2017 Harry Gore Memorial Scholarship recipient.

Newly-appointed honors senator Maribel Sanchez is the first person in her family to attend college.

Her parents immigrated from Mexico before she was born and found jobs at a beef-packing plant in Dodge City.

Sanchez said her parents’ hard work is a major inspiration to her.

“My motivation to go to college is to try to strive for a better life,” Sanchez said. “Because they weren’t able to prosper the way that I’m given the opportunity to.”

“Just seeing them come home from a hard day of work, it’s like ‘Wow, you need to go and work twice as hard to be able to one day pay it forward.’”

Sanchez is a 2017 Harry Gore Memorial Scholarship recipient. She was one of two Wichita State students chosen for the scholarship out of over 500 applicants. Fellow senator Matthew Miller was the other recipient. Winners of the scholarship receive $60,000 over four years.

“I initially didn’t even think about doing it at all,” she said. “I wasn’t really set on WSU. I was leaning towards KU.”

Sanchez said one visit to Wichita State’s campus was all it took to change her mind.

“It was honestly a vibe thing,” Sanchez said. “When you walk onto a campus and you just know it’s the one. I really couldn’t fight it.”

Sanchez served as student council president in both middle school and high school.

She said now she hopes to bring her unique perspective to her role as a student leader at Wichita State.

“There are a lot of values that I already hold true to myself” Sanchez said. “I was raised in a low-income family, so I just have those different things that I’m going to shoot for and work towards.”

“There’s a lot of people on this campus that are also in the same boat as I am. . . Hopefully I can be an advocate for them.”