Student Spotlight: Paula Patron-Garcia


Photo by: Ainara Eizaguirre Irastorza

First generation college student, Paula Patron-Garcia, actively works on creating a legacy through her career with SGA.

Junior healthcare administration major Paula Patron-Garcia recently won the Student Government Association’s (SGA) presidential election and will serve under the title for the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters.   

Patron-Garcia is a first-generation college student, a feat that she said came with its hurdles.  

“I had to navigate a new environment with new people having no guidance from my parents or family members,” Patron-Garcia said. “They always have, and continue to, support me through my college career, but as far as asking for advice on classes or guidance when filling out financial aid, I pretty much had to teach myself. Being first-generation has its benefits. I am now able to provide guidance for my family members that are about to start their college application process. It feels rewarding to be a resource I didn’t have at their age.”  

Patron-Garcia has been a part of SGA since her freshman year, slowly working her way up the rankings. From serving as a senator in her first year to vice president during her second year, her time spent with the SGA eventually resulted in her presidency.   

“Having dedicated years to SGA, I developed an agenda of goals I would want to accomplish should I be given the chance,” Patron-Garcia said.   

One of her main goals in her new position is to start installing feminine hygiene products in women’s restrooms across campus, as she believes it is an important resource for students.   

According to Patron-Garcia, she and the rest of the SGA also plan to revitalize the student organizations on campus.    

“Coming out of the pandemic, there’s a new surge of interest in organizations,” Patron-Garcia said. “I’ve heard from a lot of the student body, ‘what clubs can I join?’, so we’re encouraging organizations to fill out allocation requests so we can help fund their events. We’re here to serve the student body, other organizations included.”  

Patron-Garcia values family and considers her mother and sister her two most crucial role models.  

“My biggest role model is my mom, Maria Garcia,” Patron-Garcia said. “She immigrated from Mexico at the age of 17 and hasn’t stopped fighting to provide her children with the best life possible since. She showed me the importance of hard work and perseverance. She has supported me every step of the way through my college journey. My second role model is my older sister, Jackie. Being a little over a year apart, I grew up with a built-in best friend and older sister. Jackie is who I turn to when life gets too crazy. She is my biggest motivator through the rough patches of college and my stabilizer when all my responsibilities get too overwhelming.”  

Patron-Garcia often experiences the pressure of perfection, and she hopes that younger students do not let this same pressure deter them from making memories in college.   

“My biggest advice to incoming freshmen is ‘breathe,’” Patron-Garcia said. “As a first-generation student, there was, and continues to be, a lot of pressure around making sure I get good grades to keep my scholarships, graduate with honors and set myself up for the next step after graduation. A lot of the incoming freshmen face this same pressure, and it can be suffocating. I’m here to say, just breathe. That low grade is not the end of the world. Take it as a learning experience to refine your study technique. It is okay to take time to go to the basketball game with your friends or join that club you’ve always wondered about.”