Student Access & Success

Arturo Valadez Makes the Best out of Being a First-Generation College Student

Arturo Valadez is a first-generation college student from Idaho Falls, Idaho.

When COVID-19 started spreading in the United States, Arturo Valadez was in high school. The pandemic has killed over 1.1 million Americans, and changed the lives of millions more. Now a student at Boise State University pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Arturo Valadez said that the pandemic was a defining point for his interest in the field.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant part in my interest in healthcare,” Valadez said. “How different countries handled it, the fatalities, the spread — it’s broad, but it’s fascinating to see how a group of professionals can work together to help all of humankind.”

Looking to his career, Valadez wants his work to benefit people: Healthcare was the perfect fit. His interest in the field stems from working with underprivileged and underrepresented communities. Passionate about giving back to his home state with his career, Valadez pursues his degree with the help of the True Blue Scholarship, which is part of how he covers his tuition.

Experiences in high school strengthened his commitment to college. Student government, clubs and memberships with both Business Professionals of America and the National Honors Society speckled his time in high school. Coming to Boise State as a first-generation high school student in the highest 5% of his class, and now a first-gen college student, Valadez feels seen.

“Boise State was one of the first universities to reach out after I graduated,” he said. “When I went to tour the university, it felt like home. I didn’t feel a disconnect or different. I felt comforted. It’s comforting to know one of the state schools noticed me as a student.”

Now, expecting to graduate in May of 2026, Valadez is a student in the Honors College and works in the Graduate College. As a student worker with the Graduate Student Success Center, he has worked on events like commencement and has helped students format theses and dissertations, fine-tuning soft skills for his resume. Now a member of the Graduate College’s communications team, Valadez works on the marketing end of things, like promotional social media. Opportunities like these, he said, have been “key experiences” in his time there.

Raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho, by Mexican-born parents, Valadez’s first language is Spanish, leading him to consider a minor in Spanish at Boise State, both to reconnect with his heritage and to support his interest in working with Latino communities on challenges like health disparities.. 

Between funding from the True Blue Scholarship and experience to benefit him in his college career, Valadez maintains his dedication, saying: “I don’t have time to not take my education seriously.” The heart of his support, though, from high school to university, is his family.

“Family’s always supported me,” Valadez said. “My college degree is their college degree. Everything I’ve done — blood, sweat, and tears, I know their blood, sweat, and tears are there, too.”


Scholarships are catalysts, empowering students to overcome obstacles, achieve their full potential, and contribute to our thriving learning community.  We aim to ensure that a quality education remains within reach for all students, regardless of their circumstances. We’re committed to breaking down barriers and empowering the next generation of Broncos as they shape the future of Idaho. To learn more, click here.

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