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Celebrating First-Generation Students: Gerardo Herrera

Gerardo Herrera
First-generation student Gerardo Herrera is a McNair Scholar and came to Boise State with the assistance of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). He is an undergraduate researcher in electrical engineering and has aspirations to work as an engineer bringing communications technology to under-served and rural communities after he completes graduate school.

When first-generation college student Gerardo Herrera was growing up in Twin Falls, his dad would bring him to construction sites where he worked and explain to the young Gerardo that he could choose a life of less manual labor by attending college. This experience planted the seed for Herrera to eventually attend Boise State, where he has become an outstanding student studying electrical engineering, while receiving support through the McNair Scholars program, an academic achievement and graduate school prep program for first-generation college students from limited income backgrounds.

Herrera came to Boise State with the help of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) which assists students who are children of migrant or seasonal farm workers complete their first year of college. Herrera loved his first year and quickly made a plan to continue his undergraduate studies at Boise State for the next three years. The CAMP program and Herrera’s success as a student helped Herrera apply to the McNair program which has supported his undergraduate research in Dr. Jim Browning’s electrical engineering lab studying microwave technology. Herrera is also part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) undergraduate research program and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Herrera’s involvement on campus and work in the lab have given him the experience and confidence to excel beyond his bachelor’s degree. Herrera will graduate with a degree in electrical engineering in May 2022, and is preparing to apply to graduate schools in California, Florida and Texas. He hopes to build a career in communications infrastructure to help bring broadband technology to undeserved rural areas in the US.

As the aspiring engineer helps keep rural communities like his connected, he has remained close to his own family and roots in rural Idaho. “One of the hardest things (about being so busy) is having to stay away from visiting home or making time for family, so I still drive home once or twice a month,” said Herrera.

In recognition of the annual First-Generation College Celebration on November 8, the College of Education is profiling outstanding first generation students November 8-12. The Center for Multicultural Educational Opportunities, housed in the College of Education, includes a variety of programs that support first-generation college students.

Center for Multicultural Educational Opportunites


Gerardo Herrera