There is a culture, language and history that is unique to higher education, and it can be daunting to first-year college students. This was especially so for Jazmin Malagon, RC ’15, who was the first person in her family to attend college. Her knowledge of the college experience was mostly a blank slate when she arrived at Regis, and she faced a lot more “unknowns” than most freshmen encounter. For Malagon, having a mentor on campus made all the difference in navigating her college experience.
A program coordinated through the Regis College Office of the Dean
paired Malagon with Lisa Alejandre, director of student accounts, soon after her arrival at Regis. The two bonded immediately and even discovered each had a parent originally from the same small town in Jalisco, Mexico.
“It was an easy relationship, and we enjoyed hanging out with each other,” Malagon said. “My teachers were helpful, too, but I always knew I could go to Lisa with any questions, whether about tuition, language, campus programs, really anything. For four years, she was always there for me – by phone, email or in person.”
Alejandre saw herself as Malagon’s advocate. “Whether she needed advice on balancing school with family expectations, or a second opinion about what classes to take, my role was to support and encourage her to keep her on track.”
In addition to being a first-generation student, Malagon faced challenges from glaucoma, which limits her eyesight and requires ongoing medical treatment. But neither stopped her from making the most out of her Regis experience, including spending a semester abroad
in Nagasaki, Japan.
“Lisa was a huge resource in helping me figure out who to talk to, how to fund my travel abroad and the best way to get my medication in a foreign country,” Malagon said. “My dream was to go to Japan, and she helped make it a reality.”
When it came time for Malagon’s graduation with a degree in visual arts, she turned to Alejandre for help with her resume and tips on interviewing. “I hope to always stay in touch with Lisa and help others the way she helped me.”
Today, Malagon works at an art gallery and family resource center helping others find their creative abilities and resources for better living. “I want to help young people, the Hispanic community and the disabled find what they need. I am an example that if you work hard and accept help from others you can achieve your goals.”
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