First-Gen Faculty & Staff

Kirsten Schumacher

 Kirsten Schumacher

Assistant Director of UREC, Competitive Sports
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


BA Recreation & Leisure Studies, Western Washington University, 2013
MA Education, Sport Management, Washington State University, 2015


What does being first-gen mean to you?

When I take a moment to reflect on the fact that I made it to and through college (twice!) it gives me a few goosebumps. I am not a human to doubt my abilities, but to be able to accomplish these large undertakings truly on my own (at least without the support or guidance of my family) is something that I don't get to pat myself on the back enough for. It should be CELEBRATED! Being first-gen to me, means I am scrappy, I am a problem solver, I have grit, and I have a belief in myself and my future.
What challenges/barriers have you faced or overcome during college?

Finances were the biggest barrier to attend university, and my upbringing and required amount of debt to accomplish my degree certainly had an impact on my relationship with money for years.

I am happy to provide further details about the barriers before college that shaped college being harder, or details on coming out through my time in college, but the above was certainly my biggest struggle in my time.
What resource(s) or support helped you to be successful?

I leaned in hard to the communities that I found in sport clubs and recreation. Sport teams were something that I was familiar with from high school sports. They had been my community, family, support system, and way of life leading up to college, why wouldn't I let them do that for me in college? Sport clubs provided me my friends, community, exercise, job, and eventually my master's degree, and current role at Seattle U.

What advice would you give to someone else who is also first-gen?

Remember how hard what you're doing is. No, don't dwell on the fact that it is hard, instead take a moment to reflect and congratulate yourself for the fact that you are exactly where you are. Dig in deep to the fact that it is you who got you to where you are. 
Remember that while at times you may feel alone or without a path, there are so many people on campus who want you to succeed, who want to see you be celebrated, and believe in you.