Velena Hernandez is a second year graduate student in Sociology and the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO). She is a first generation college student and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014 with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Education. After graduation, she went on to work for a municipality and science enrichment program for high school students while also volunteering for Latino art and Mexican history museums. Currently, Velena’s research focuses on first generation college students and persistence to graduation. Her broader research interests include defining identity, Latinx experiences in education, culture, motivation, and social networks.