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Meet First-Gen Wildcat Jason Dayee

Jason Dayee on campus

BA, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science


The University of Arizona boasts more than 10,000 first-generation students, faculty, and staff. Jason Dayee is one of those students who found community and made connections as a first-in-his-family Wildcat.

Where are you from, and do you have family here?

I'm originally from Staten Island, New York. I moved to Phoenix at 13, and now I reside in Tucson. I have nine younger siblings, my dad, an aunt, and uncle as well; they're all in the picture.

How did you decide on your academic/career path?  

My goal is to become a Neuro-Oncologist. I've always been around healthcare; my parents were caregivers. I knew I wanted to help people but didn't know what kind of doctor I wanted to be until I lost some loved ones and a friend to cancer. 

What was your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

I am pretty adaptable, so the workload was not a big issue; however, when it came to making meaningful connections, that's where I struggled. I take advantage of clubs, the rec center, intramural sports and follow @uarizona and @uafirstcats to meet new people.

Paying for college: How did you land your work-study job?

The university has a website for jobs and internships. I filled out about 15 applications that included the library, food court, rec center, and financial aid office. The financial aid office got back to me, set up an interview, and I was chosen for the job. 

Why do you prefer living on campus?

You get to meet new people and be more involved with campus life. Plus, a lot of amenities are available on campus; I prefer to cook and my dorm has two kitchens on the first floor. Also, you don't have to worry about transportation as much. You can walk, bike, or use the Cat Tran.

Take a virtual dorm tour!

Any other words of wisdom for first-gen students?

Try to make as many connections as possible with your advisors, professors, and the people in your classes. I feel like a lot of first-generation students are fearful they aren't in the right place or won't fit in. We all feel the same way. Don't be afraid to reach out early for help.

Visit First Cats to find programs and services for first-gen Wildcats.

Being the first to attend college can feel thrilling and daunting at the same time. We're here for you, ready to answer your questions and welcome you into the Wildcat Family!




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