Stacie Hays, Associate Vice President of Careers, Life and Success is a first-gen. Hays attended The University of Northern Iowa and earned a Bachelor’s in Public Relations. Hays then attended The University of South Dakota and earned a Master’s in Organizational leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education.

“I felt a responsibility as the oldest to set a good example by going to college, doing well, and finishing. My parents had always taken care of “adult” things for me, so going to college was difficult because suddenly I had to figure these things out on my own. Back then, I was not the kind of person who liked to ask questions, so I had to learn to advocate for myself and learn what needed to be done for success.”

Hays loved meeting new people when she went to college. She loved the variety of college courses offered compared to the offerings at her high school. She encourages other first-gen students to ask questions. “Reach out to people and ask for opportunities. You never know how a connection you make in college can turn into something lasting.”