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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

First Gen hosts Miss Texas ’22

Students listen to Averie Bishop present at the First Gen Feature Photo credit: Elizabeth Guevara

Miss Texas ‘22 told First-Gen students that they must embrace their differences in order to succeed in school.

SMU’s First-Generation Initiative welcomed Averie Bishop as this year’s First-Gen Feature on Thursday night for about 30 students and staff. She said that it is important to have continual growth and not hold back because of difficult circumstances.

“Because of my differences, I convinced myself that I shouldn’t take up space,” Bishop said.

Bishop is a First-Gen SMU Law School Graduate and Miss Texas ‘22. She is a social media consultant and a viral influencer. She also works for the City of Dallas as a Civil Rights Advisory Council member and has started her own non-profit organization.

Bishop made history as the first Asian American to represent Texas in the Miss USA pageant. First-Gen Initiative thought it was important for students to hear from an alumna who was Asian-American.

“Her being an Asian American brings a perspective that is unique to her,” said Briana Morales, Graduate Assistant for the First-Generation Initiative.

Bishop said a Civil Rights pilgrimage following Martin Luther King’s footsteps she completed during her undergrad has been integral in her career. She works for equal opportunity with the City of Dallas, where she fights against AAPI hate crimes. In addition, The Tulong Foundation is her non-profit where she helps kids from her maternal country go to school.

“It inspired me to be an advocate for others and myself,” Bishop said. “Everyone deserves equal growth.”

Bishop has designed her social media platform to bring together first-gen students by sharing her own challenges. She became viral on TikTok from a video of eating cantaloupe in a library. Then, she turned her page into a place for students like her to get financial and mental wellness advice.

“I wanted to share my struggles and see if anyone else related to what I was going through,” Bishop said.

Bishop said she was excited to come back to her alma mater where she completed her undergraduate degree and will complete her graduate studies. After being out of school for a year and reflecting on the troubles that she had, Bishop feels proud she can come back as an alumna.

“It has been almost a year since I have been back,” Bishop said. “It feels like a tremendous achievement.”

Senior student Anneliese Bring said that it is hard to find others in law school who are also First-Gen students.

“There is a lot of stress going into law school as a First-Gen,” Bring said. “It is really good to talk to someone about it.”

The crowd was intimate, but this allowed students to meet and talk to Bishop after she encouraged them to connect with her.

“When you’re having a hard time growing, don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Bishop said.

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