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The Significance of Being “The 1st” with Evelia Guerrero
Episode 1425th February 2022 • Our Roots Say That We're Sisters • Marquette University
00:00:00 00:21:57

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In this episode, host Sheena Carey talks to Evelia Guerrero, a recent Marquette alum in Nursing and now a Registered Nurse at Children’s Wisconsin. Evelia served as the first Latina student body president at Marquette University, was the first in her family to go to college, and the first to graduate. 

Episode Highlights:

02:13 I’m the first one in my family to go to Marquette, the first one to graduate and have a Bachelor’s degree, and I think it holds a lot of weight on who I am and decisions I have made. 

03:13 I saw the nurses care for him (my brother) and my family and me in such a holistic way that I realized that service is my path and the way that I can mix college and schooling and the American Dream is to go to school to be a nurse.

03:46 I see nursing as not just being a bedside nurse and offering direct patient care but nursing is also a work of advocacy especially for populations that are underserved by our health care systems.

07:16 Not only could I run and win for a position like this, but my university is willing to back me up and place a physical representation of that on our campus for everyone to see.

11:38 Often we are labeled as “stone cold” and you don’t want to share your feelings because people will see you as weak. I think that being vulnerable with those around me helped them understand where I was coming from. 

15:08 It’s so empowering to see nurses of color interact with patients of color, so that’s kind of my biggest hope to see that diverse nursing workforce grow. 

17:50 Success doesn’t only mean graduating from college and getting a job; it means being able to leave Marquette and see the world with a different lens.

20:36 For your student to be successful in college, it really takes a village, and that family unit is so important because they need your support. 


01:26 What is your story? - I want to talk about the word “first” and the significance of it. It encompasses a lot of my identity.

01:50 How do you identify? - I identify as a first generation US Citizen, both of my parents are from Mexico and I was born in the United States. I also identify as a first generation college student.

02:22 How did you get onto this path? - Growing up, my parents always instilled how important education is and following the American Dream.

03:33 What are some of the ways in which your identity has informed the choices that you’ve made? - My identity drives a lot of my passions that have now become my career.

05:00 Are there ways in which you mesh the western ways, or the way in which health care is provided in the United States, with some of the expectations especially around Mexican immigrants who are coming to the United States for help? - I grew up with my mom using a lot of home remedies when we were sick that played into the idea that we didn’t go to the doctor because we had things that we could use at home to help us feel better. 

06:32 What are the ways in which the mural project has resonated for you? - The mural is another first on campus. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. 

07:41 What has been Marquette’s impact on women of color? - The impact is slow and steady over the years. We’ve become a place that’s more open to uplifting and amplifying the voices of women of color on our campus.

08:43 Are there specific ways in which Marquette has impacted your sense of self worth? - Through my work with student government, it has taught me that I am valuable and that I do bring something to the table. 

09:46 Who are some of the women who have inspired you, women of color or otherwise? - The first person who comes to mind is my mom. 

11:11 What’s the role of vulnerability in this growth that you are experiencing? - As a daughter of immigrants, you are often taught not to share your feelings and kind of hold it back for the good of your family. 

12:35 How have other women of color helped you navigate or negotiate these areas of vulnerability? - She (Amber Johnson from Project Beyond) just listened to me and helped me navigate my feelings and she helped me develop action steps to control my emotions.

13:55 What impact do you hope to have on women of color coming behind you, walking beside you, maybe even who’ve already gone past you? - As an ex-student body president, I always said “I’m the first, I won’t be the last”. 

15:57 What are your hopes for Marquette’s future and what are your hopes for your own future? - I hope that Marquette continues to lean into those tough conversations. For myself, my hope is to continue to learn and grow as a nurse and be the best nurse that I can be. 

17:33 What else would you like the community to know about you and your journey? - My journey is just one of many of daughters of immigrants and first generation college students that are a success story. 

19:36 I know that family is important to you. Is there something you’d like the community to know about your relationship to your family? - My family and I are so close and I used to get really homesick in college. 

Contact information:

Jacki Black

pronouns: she/her/hers

Associate Director for Hispanic Initiatives

Marquette University

454 Zilber Hall | PO Box 1881 | Milwaukee, WI 53201



The Our Roots Say That We're Sisters Podcast series was recorded and produced by Podcast Town (




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