Winston Bowles photo

Winston Bowles

I am 19 years old junior and planning to graduate with my Bachelors in History emphasis on the United States and pre-law in the spring of 2022. I am a Kansas City native, being here for my entire life. I am a Residential Assistant at Oak Street Hall, as well as involved around campus with many organizations and tutor in my free time. Being a first generation student, I understand the trials that come with it, and I cannot wait to make connections with everyone!


Bayley Brooks

I am a senior first-generation student here at UMKC studying Civil Engineering. I am involved on campus as President of American Society of Civil Engineers, School of Computing and Engineering Ambassador, a Trustees’ Scholar, and now a First Generation Roo Mentor! I am so incredibly excited to connect with other first-gen students and help them be successful at UMKC! Outside of class, I enjoy playing with my dog, trying new restaurants, and exploring Kansas City.


Dalila Hermosillo photo

Dalila Hermosillo

I’m a first generation student going into my sophomore year at UMKC. I am studying psychology, in hopes to become a Dermatologist! I was born and raised in Kansas, but my family is from Mexico and Brazil. Being first generation to me means being able to set a pathway for others and taking advantage of this opportunity for higher education not just for me, but for my family as well. I can’t wait to connect with other first generation students and to share some experiences.


Noah Kucza photo

Noah Kucza

Hi! I am Noah and I grew up in Lawrence, KS. I am majoring in business administration, focusing in marketing, and minoring in politics science. Currently, I serve as the president of the Interfraternity Council. Last year I was the president of my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. I’m looking forward to helping new students feel comfortable in the exciting new world of college. My favorite thing about UMKC is the city surrounding us. I am a coffee aficionado and enjoy exploring the KC restaurant scene. Roo Up!


Janai Labbe photo

Ja’na’i “Junnie” Labbe

Hey all! My name is Ja’na’i Labbe, yet I go by Junnie. I am a 21 year-old Sophomore (going on Junior) and I major in Sociology with a Cultural Anthropology emphasis. I am working on a German and International Relations Minor. I am a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc. where I am Academic Chair. I have been an exchange student twice, once in Germany for a year, and once in China. Because of these experiences, I currently work at the study abroad office. I wanted to become a mentor because I had the sweetest, most empathetic mentor last semester. She not only gave me amazing advice throughout the semester, yet great friendship. I would love to build those connections with more people and share all that I have learned thus far.


Ciara Pate photo

Ciara Pate

I am a senior at UMKC, and I will be graduating with a degree in Communications with an emphasis in mass communications and journalism and a minor in Spanish. Being a mentor to others who are like me, i.e. a first generation college student, is important to me because I enjoy helping others especially when I can relate to them in any way. I am a second degree and a world champion in taekwondo, and I also train people in the sport as well. Writing and journalism work are very interesting and entertaining to me, so I’ve been writing and creating content for the student led newspaper at UMKC,UNews. I am also am the social media editor of the newspaper. While at UMKC, I have also been involved in the LGBT+ programs on campus, and even served a year on the executive board of Pride Alliance. I look forward to working with some of the community of first generation students coming to UMKC!


Amaal Sheikhadan

I am a junior at UMKC majoring in Criminology and minoring in Sociology. I hope to pursue a career in victim advocacy through trauma-informed care. My favorite hobbies include photography, art, and sight-seeing. I had the great privilege in being a First Gen Roo mentor last year and I’m exuberated to be back! Along with my co-mentors and mentees, this mentorship will grant me the honor to positively redefine the first gen identity on the UMKC campus!


Lauren Textor photo

Lauren Textor

I am a proud Kansas City native who will be a sophomore next fall! I’m currently majoring in English, but my ultimate goal is to work with nonprofits in a communications/fundraising context. I haven’t narrowed down a specific sector where I would like to work, but I care deeply about environmental issues and children’s rights. I am a residential assistant at Oak as well as a member of the honors college and a volunteer with the Kangaroo Pantry. In the past, I’ve worked for a museum, a political campaign, and a hotel restaurant. I’m passionate about writing, humanitarian issues, and the first generation student community at UMKC!


Myah Wilson photo

Myah Wilson

I am Myah Wilson, a 4th year Pre-Pharmacy student at UMKC. I am a Chemistry B.A. major with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. I am a member of African Student Association, Alpha Phi Omega, as well as the University Singers ensemble. My favorite hobbies are playing with puppies and listening to all types of music. I also love meeting new people!

Former Peer Mentors


Mia Flynn

I am the coordinator for First Gen Roo! I was born and raised in Michigan and completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology. I moved to Kansas City to pursue my PhD in Counseling Psychology at UMKC two years ago. I feel very lucky to say that my life is quite a hodgepodge because I get to do a wide variety of things – research, counseling, and serving as a writing consultant on campus. I have always enjoyed work that focuses on personal relationships and development, which is why I am so excited to be a part of First Gen Roo.

Mia Flynn photograph


Alicen Lundberg

I am so thrilled to be working with all these amazing people to continue developing the First Gen Roo program! My own first generation story began when I accidentally took an architecture course at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, before continuing at Truman State University where I studied philosophy and English. After a decade working at UMKC, my belief in the passion and potential of our students here continues to grow.

Alicen Lundberg photograph


Kristi Holsinger

I have enjoyed helping develop and implement UMKC’s First Gen Roo program with Alicen and Mia! The mentors and mentees are simply amazing and their experiences and backgrounds give them unique insights and perspectives that enrich our campus! In my 20 years here, I have been a Criminal Justice and Criminology (CJC) professor, Chair of the CJC department, and Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. The highlights of my time here include leading a class where students mentored incarcerated youth, teaching a restorative justice class with students and incarcerated youth, and my involvement in First Gen Roo!

Photo of Kristi Holsinger