By Fatima Magana '22
ALLIANCE- Being a first-generation college student can be difficult, as navigating the college system is new for you. Whether you need help filling out your first college or FAFSA application, teachers and guidance counselors are there to help you with the process.
Emilee Styranec ‘25, biology and neuroscience double major at the University of Mount Union, is the first female in her family to pursue a college education. With the hope of becoming a physician assistant, her drive and motivation are leading her to become a successful woman in the medical field.
“Initially, I declared a second major in Spanish due to a biliteracy certificate that I held from the state of Ohio; though, once I finished the requirements for a minor in Spanish, I dedicated my studies to my career in medicine,” said Styranec.
Styranec explains that without the support from her parents, she would not have accomplished everything she has up to this point. In college, friends like student resident assistant, Chessie Misja, and advisor, Dr. Michael Knepp, have guided and supported all her decisions.
She explains that an obstacle she had to overcome was adjusting to her new schedule as college is different from high school; therefore, she gained time management skills. Styranec adds that the college credit plus and honors courses she took in high school taught her study techniques.
“If I were to meet my 10-year-old self, I would tell her to do what she wants not what others want her to do,” said Styranec. “Explore different interests and stick to your goals.”
Styranec is quite involved on campus as part of the Association of Pre-Physician Assistants, Commuter Students Association, an AHEC scholar, and the honors program. This experience helps her advise students like her who are first-generation, thus building their community within their college campus while listening to other first-generation students’ stories.
Five years after graduating from Mount Union, Styranec envisions herself as a physician assistant, living in a rural area with a homestead and growing her own garden.
Learn more about the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Mount Union.