Jennine Capó Crucet

"Just embrace where you’re at. You’re going to be a writer…it is the whole point of why the universe brought you here."

As the daughter of Cuban immigrants, Jennine Capó Crucet was the first person in her family to be born in the United States. Her writing is full of biting humor as she ardently depicts her time as a first-generation college student, as well as the immigrant experience.

Jennine is the author of the critically acclaimed Make Your Home Among Strangers, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice book and the winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award. In October 2019, Jennine was invited to speak at Georgia Southern University after Make Your Home Among Strangers was read by freshman for their First Year Experience. During a Q&A with Jennine, white students questioned her authority to speak on topics such as white privilege and diversity, leading to a hostile and surreal situation that reportedly ended with students burning her book outside her hotel. She has used this experience as a way to continue the conversation about diversity, the meaning of free speech, and the debate of opposing ideas.

She is a recipient of an O. Henry Prize, the Picador Fellowship, and the Hillsdale Award for the Short Story. Jennine’s story collection, How to Leave Hialeah, won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, the John Gardner Book Award, and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Jennine’s latest work, My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education, investigates concepts of race, gender, immigration, and the “American dream” since the 2016 election. The Los Angeles Times calls My Time Among the Whites, “Remarkable,” and Bustle calls it, “a must read.”

Jennine is a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times, as well as an associate professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska. In the years prior to becoming a professor, she worked as a college access counselor at One Voice, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that serves first-generation college students from low-income families.

Why first-generation students need mentors who get them


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