By Naniyah McClain
“College introduced me to so many experiences and cultures that I would have not experienced if I were to stay home or commute,” said Paulaska Ramirez, alumni Theta Phi Alpha sister, as she spoke on the final night of the weeklong virtual Meet the Greeks event.
Ramirez is executive director and founder of Generation Fearless, a Wayne, N.J.-based non-profit organization that supports women who are first — immigrants,investors, entrepreneurs, students and more.
She joined 11 Greek members from Alpha Sigma Tau, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sigma Gamma Rho, Omega Phi Chi, Mu Sigma Upsilon and Lambda Sigma Upsilon in an inspirational discussion.
Born and raised in Passaic, Ramirez is the daughter of Dominican immigrants. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from William Paterson University and her master’s in Administrative Science from FDU. She is associate director of the William Paterson Educational Opportunity Fund Program. Her passion is the non-profit she founded.
“In order to form Generation Fearless, I had to make financial sacrifices to pursue my dream,” Ramirez said, advising the audience to save money.
She said there are five values applied in the Generation Fearless organization: integrity, growth, courage, empathy and civic engagement. Ramirez said she strives to embody these traits and instill them in others.
“I want this to be a place where you are a first-gen entrepreneur and you can leave with your business plan. What makes me happy and what is important to me is giving back,” Ramirez said.
The discussion covered the pressures and expectations first-generation college students often face.
“I think a lot of the pressure put on us by our families and communities is not intentional because we want to be role models,” Ramirez said.
Her world was limited due to the English-Spanish language barrier between her and her mother. Her time at William Paterson University helped open her up to options available to her.
“During my freshman year, I joined SGA [Student Government Association], ran for office and became freshman class secretary and freshman class president. I became a proud member of Theta Phi Alpha. I got a position right after as an RA [resident assistant] during my sophomore year. I just wanted to do so much and I didn’t have those opportunities at home,” said Ramirez.
The discussion was presented by the Intergreek Council & Office of Student Life on Friday, Oct. 2.
Rashard Mills, assistant director for Student Union Building Operations, was the host of the event.
Mills asked Ramirez where her greatest strength lies. According to Ramirez, it lies in caring for others.
“I do genuinely care about the people in my life and making a difference. I want to leave an imprint. I think I have the responsibility to teach somebody something,” Ramirez said.
The discussion served as the embodiment of the spirit of FDU’s Greek organizations and as the perfect finale to Meet the Greeks 2020.
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