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Overcoming obstacles? Of course!

‘American Ninja Warrior’ visits for First-Gen Week.

By Cory Phare

November 4, 2020

Woman in first-gen t shirtIt takes a lot of perseverance to make it to the top in “American Ninja Warrior,” the hit sports-entertainment television show that just wrapped its 12th season. And perseverance is something Roadrunners know a thing or two about.

“ANW” city finalist Hoan Do returns Friday at 6 p.m. to Metropolitan State University of Denver to cap off National First-Gen Week, which is this week. He’ll share his story of being the first in his family to enroll in college, overcoming challenges with the same skill set that’s catapulted him to success on the show’s obstacle course, during the video call open to the University community.

“There are a lot of parallels with our first-generation students at MSU Denver,” said Sam Borrego, coordinator for First-Gen Initiatives. “Having determination, despite the obstacles immediately in front of you, is so important when you encounter self-doubt or perceived failures of letting others down.”

Other events for First-Gen Week include resources on navigating family pressure, managing impostor syndrome and an employer panel on career prep. The series is sponsored by the University’s Offices of Peer Mentoring, Immigrant Services, Classroom to Career Hub, TRIO Student Support Services, Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy and the Denver Scholarship Foundation. National First-Gen Day itself takes place Sunday.

This is Do’s second visit to MSU Denver to inspire students, as he’d previously worked with the University’s Peer Mentor Program to work with sophomore-level students. His return visit focuses on families and support networks in the process of student retention and persistence.

“He was so engaging; he had us involved in activities throughout his talk,” said Borrego, who attended the first session. “(Do’s story) helps remind us that we’re not just doing this for ourselves but for our future families as well.”

“American Ninja Warrior” athlete Huan Do visits Friday at 6 p.m.; the session is free and open to the MSU Denver community, with more info here. No RSVP required.

Topics: Access, Community, Diversity, Events, Excellence, First-gen, First-generation, Student Success

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