First Generation Stories

First generation students make up about 35% of Northern's student population. Our campus also has many first-generation faculty and staff working with students daily. Learn more about some of the first generation population that makeup Northern.  

Are you currently enrolled at NMU and a first-generation student? Are you an NMU faculty or staff member who was a first-generation college student? We want to hear your story. Please contact Haley Rhoades at or 906-227-1700 to share your story! 

Alisha Arnsparger at graduation Alisha Arnsparger graduated in May 2015 with a degree in communication studies. She initially didn't realize how big of an accomplishment graduating was, until she had the opportunity to be recognized at the graduation ceremony in the Superior Dome as the first in her family to graduate college. Now she wants to encourage all other first-generation students to take every opportunity that comes their way so that they can have the best experience possible receiving an education.  
profile picture of Rachel Rodriguez Rachel Rodriquez graduated with a degree in environmental studies and sustainability in December 2014. Though challenged by the application process for federal financial aid, she persevered and not only took the chance to become the first person in her family to graduate college, but achieved it.  
profile picture of Hallie Sutton Hallie Sutton is a zoology major from Wolcott, Indiana. Initially faced with many personal and economic barriers, Hallie is working hard to achieve her goal of working in the Arctic circle. 
profile picture of Ryan Dubay Ryan Dubay is a history major from Bay City, Michigan. While at Northern he has had the opportunity to work with the Beaumier Heritage center and catalog all of NMU's achievements in sports.