Yvette Del Valle ’04, MA ’17, Assistant Director of Enrollment Growth and Professional Advancement, Cotsakos College of Business

BA, Communication, MA, Higher Education Administration, William Paterson University

“Grow your network, develop meaningful relationships, and surround yourself with people who have your best interest at heart and support you.”

“My parents instilled in me hard work, empathy, grit, and perseverance. They told me I could do and be anything I put my mind to and that education was a number one priority. But when I enrolled at William Paterson as a freshman, I didn’t have a roadmap on how to navigate college, what to prioritize, what networks I should build,” recalls Yvette Del Valle of her own experience as a first-generation college student.

“However, with the support of my parents and by being involved on campus, I built a community of peers, mentors, faculty, and staff to help me along the way,” says Del Valle, who went on to achieve her bachelor’s in communication and her master’s in higher education administration from the University.

As assistant director for enrollment growth and professional advancement in the Cotsakos College of Business for the past two years, her experience has come full circle. “I’m now in the position to help our students and be that resource for them,” says Del Valle, who coordinates the Professional Enrichment Program, a co-curricular program that provides business students with professional development and career readiness workshops and programs to prepare them with the skills necessary to compete in the job market.

She often tells her first-generation students to advocate for themselves, ask for help, and build connections with a network of supporters. They will be your community of champions!” says Del Valle, who remains proud of her roots and is appreciative of the sacrifices her parents made along the way to provide better opportunities for her and to thrive as a first-gen student.

“I’m forever indebted and appreciative of my parents’ hard work and sacrifice so that my sisters and I could succeed. I’m proud of their accomplishments coming to a country where they didn’t know the language, culture, etc. but persisted, thrived, and made a beautiful life for us and our future generations. Thank you for all of your guidance and life lessons. Gracias por todo mami y papi, los amo.”