First generation college student Paloma Roman wants to bring change to K-State

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Paloma Roman, senior in athletic training, is involved in numerous K-State organizations and clubs including SGA and Manhappenin' Magazine. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

First generation college student Paloma Roman is making strides in her effort to make Kansas State a more unified place.

Roman, senior in athletic training, is originally from Garden City, Kansas. Throughout the years, Roman has served the K-State community in a variety of capacities and activities, from Wildcat Warm-Up counselor over the summer to student senator in the Student Governing Association.

Roman is also an active member of Hispanic American Leadership Organization and sat on the KSUnite Planning Committee. She also contributes to Manhappenin’ Magazine.

“K-State has many leadership opportunities, but you can’t be scared to go after them,” Roman said.

Emily Lenk, fifth-year senior in journalism and editor for Manhappenin’, said Roman’s ability to balance her responsibilities is something she admires.

“Paloma blows my mind with how involved she is,” Lenk said. “I’m so thankful to have her on the team because I know how busy she is, and she still dedicates time to it. She always brings such a great attitude, even if she was up at 5 a.m. helping with track practice.”

Ryan Kelly, junior in communication studies and current speaker of the student senate for SGA, said he often looks to Roman for guidance and support because she leads the university in a forward-facing direction, which is something he said he strives to do as well.

“The first time I ran into Paloma was in SGA during my freshman year,” Kelly said. “I was a non-white intern in a predominantly white space where I didn’t know anyone. Paloma was a first-year senator when I first met her and she gave me hope that I could be involved with student senate as well.”

When she’s not hitting the books or trying to make K-State a better place, Roman is a student employee for the Division of Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs.

In the spring semester of 2018, Paloma set her sights on a higher leadership position within SGA, running for student body president with Michael Leverett, senior in social sciences, as her vice presidential candidate. She ultimately lost in the general election.

“Despite the outcome of the student election, being a part of something like the Student Governing Association is one more difference I can make to help students be more aware of what’s going on our campus,” Roman said. “These are steps we can make to help unify our university.”

Roman said being involved at K-State, which she encourages all students to do, allows you to make connections with other students and administrators who share your passions.

Roman said her goal is to get her master’s degree in student development in higher education or public administration. She wants to work specifically with students at a university level in the future.

“That’s just how you start to make change,” she says. “It starts with teaching kids leadership abilities.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story referenced an incorrect title for Roman’s time working with Wildcat Warm-Up. She was a counselor, not an ambassador. Roman also wants to work with students at the higher education level, not high school.

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