2017 Schedule & Sessions

We are pleased to present a full day of engaging activities, lunchtime round-tables and workshop sessions for this year’s summit attendees. Since we cannot all go to every session, we strongly encourage cohorts to review the sessions in advance and split up to attend as many sessions as possible to get the most out of the summit.

Summit Schedule

8:30am-9:30am Registration, breakfast and mingling Alumnae Lounge
9:30am-9:55am Opening comments Cohen Auditorium
10:00am-11:00am Workshop Session 1
11:05am-12:05pm Workshop Session 2
12:15am-1:15pm Roundtable Lunch Sessions
1:20pm-2:05pm Workshop Session 3
2:15pm-3:15pm Interactive Session 1: Storytelling  Remis Sculpture Court
Interactive Session 2: Activism on Campus  Sophia Gordon Multi-Purpose Room
Interactive Session 3: Campus Allies (Staff & Faculty)  Alumnae Lounge
3:30pm-4:30pm Share-back Town Hall & Closing Comments Balch Theater

Workshop Session 1

10:00am – 11:00am

Collaborating with Administration to Create a First Gen Space on Campus

Session Description:

We will share the process the University of Chicago went through to create a first-gen center, highlighting tips for student collaboration with administration.

Participants will leave with ideas for bringing about change on their own campuses. They will be able to use the structure of our office as a starting point for their own campus. We will provide copies of op-eds that began campus conversations leading to the creation of our office. We will also provide brochures highlighting the work we currently do.

Presenters:  Lynda Lopez, alumna and member of First Gen planning committee
Bonnie Kanter and Jacqueline Gaines, advisers in the Center for College Student Success
1-2 current students (TBD)

Areas: Activism on Campus, Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School, Community & Networking

Audience: Open to all

Removing The WORK From NetWORKing: Rethinking How We Forge Professional Connections As First-Gen Students

Session Description:

We’ve all heard the saying – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” – and while in reality it’s a combination of both, we can’t deny the importance of personal networks in our lives. Indeed, according to recent reports, some 80% of all jobs are gained through networking. As social beings this makes sense, as we are more apt to lend opportunities to people we know and trust. So how do our first-gen identities intersect with this status quo? How do we navigate the power dynamics at play when attending a networking event or a career fair or even perhaps an elevator conversation with a CEO? How are first-gen students, as well as first-gen professionals, currently networking and what are the challenges that we face? Under current practices, are we being sincere and true to ourselves and our values? In this session we will explore how first-gens have historically learned about networking, the problematic nature of how it is currently approached, and discuss together new methods and frameworks to revolutionize how we go about forging these critical professional connections. We will learn what we bring to the table when it comes to networking and come away with an increased understanding of how to sincerely navigate the power, privilege, and pride of being current and future first-gen professionals.

PresenterGregory Chin, Tufts ’18

Areas: Community & Networking, Intersectionality, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Open to all

¡Pa’lante! (Moving Forward) Mentorship Programs and the Success of First Generation Students in College

Session Description:

This workshop will focus on the benefits and support that mentorship programs provide to first generation students. Previous research has shown that first-generation students who participate in these kinds of programs have higher graduation and retention rates than their counterparts. In addition, these programs work with students that often come from unrepresented groups besides their first-generation identities. The intersectionality of their identities (First generation, social class, gender, ethnicity, etc.) make the transition from high school to college more difficult since, in most cases, these students lack resources and the necessary cultural, human and social capitals to navigate college. On the other side, mentorship and couching programs help students value their contributions to the community and to appreciate their forms of capital as an asset. The Student Transition and Engagement Program (STEP) at Salem State University will serve as an example of the operation and success of these programs. Statistics from STEP participants will be used to support this workshop.

Participants will learn about the logistics of mentorship programs for first-generation students, and about the positive effects of supporting first-generation students through college.

PresentersJavier Rodriguez-Diaz Salem State ’17,  Tayba Abdalkaby and Susana Martinez Salem State ’18

Areas: Activism on Campus, Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School, Intersectionality, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

AudienceOpen to all

How to Stay Centered in Difficult Times

Session Description:

As a first-generation, international, queer woman of color, the first two years of college in the US has been quite a ride, with both its challenges and excitement. I was not doing too well in terms of mental health and my physical health also started to deteriorate immensely, especially in my second/third year of college. However, because of that, I have made a huge turn to look inwards. The daily meditation and yoga that was introduced to me by the Isha Foundation have completely changed me. I always try to keep learning how to live a fuller, more joyful life and I want to share what I have learnt and bring in some people to share some very effective tools to stay centered. I think it is especially important during the political times we are living in to focus our energies on keeping ourselves well and happy so we can contribute even more to those around us.

Primarily, this workshop will introduce a powerful 12-18 minute meditation technique called the Isha Kriya, led by meditators from the Isha Foundation. The meditations I have learnt from Isha have completely shifted me and millions of others worldwide, and I hope that you will also be able to experience the transformative power of meditation.

Presenters: Rasika Sethi, Tufts University ’17 and Rebecca Reynolds, Isha Foundation

Areas: Activism on Campus, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience, Self-Care

AudienceOpen to all

Growing the First Generation Network at Wellesley College

Session Description:

We will briefly describe how the network was seeded, speak in more detail about how the network has taken root, and focus our main attention on current growth (establishing a mentor program with first gen alumnae, a big/little sibling program for current students, connections with our Career Services Office, and with first gen faculty and staff) and current challenges.

Presenters: Karen Shih – Assistant Dean Office of Intercultural Education, Don Leach – Associate Director of Residential and Campus Life, Ashley Parra ’19 and Katie Hoeflinger ’19, Student Coordinators of the First Generation Network

Areas: Community & Networking

Audience: Students, Faculty, Administrators, Small school, Private institution

Study Abroad: New Horizons or False Promises?

Session Description:

This session will explore both the transformative potential of, and the many barriers to participation by 1st Gen students in collegiate study-abroad programs. Panelists – students, staff and faculty – will discuss their own experiences with study-abroad, as well as issues of especial relevance to 1st Gen and working-class students. Are these programs simply a class perk, or do they have particular transformative potential for non-traditional students? What specific barriers to access have been addressed (or not) by institutions in recent years? What factors – financial and otherwise – should 1st Gen students consider as they contemplate participating in such programs?

Presenters:   Sean H. McPherson, Assistant Professor, BSU (discussant), Amy Couto, Honors Program, BSU, Riana Quinn, student, BSU, Melanie Tummino, student, BSU

Areas: Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School, Community & Networking, Intersectionality, Residence/Campus Life, Straddling home and school / Code switching, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Open to all.

Workshop Session 2

11:05am – 12:05pm

Undocumented College Access and Completion: One Activist's Perspective

Session Description:

This panel is a discussion on whether there has been marked progress towards social justice goals in academe and the world? Have things gotten any better? Are they worse? Panelists will answer questions about their own experiences with social justice activism but also offer advice and guidance to students as they seek to shape the world they want to live in.

Presenter: Anamaria Meneses Leon, Brown University Recent First-Generation College Graduate; Current College Access Counselor

Areas: Activism on Campus, Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School, Intersectionality

Audience: Students, Grad Students, Faculty, Administrators

The First of Many: Being a Role Model to Youngins

Session Description:

This interactive panel will center the narratives of students who are the eldest in their families to pursue college. The panelists all have younger siblings, cousins, or nephew/nieces that look up to them and how they navigate an experience their families haven’t before – getting into, and going to college. For some of these students they are hundreds of miles from home, and for others, they see their families often. Distance, visibility, and language all play into the notion of how these younger family members see these older first-gen students with hope to someday be like them. The purpose of this session is to offer participants a look into how other older first-gen students navigate these kinds of conversations, responsibilities, and privileges.

PresentersVivianna Alvarez (moderator), Toni Stone (fourth year student), Celeste Davidson (fourth year student), Lesly Adame (second year student).

Areas: Community & Networking, Straddling home and school / Code switching, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience, Familial experiences

Audience: Students, Grad Students

Creating & Leveraging Networks to Help Break Social Barriers

Session Description:

Everything happens through networks. There are so many opportunities to network in your campuses, but do we even understand what it means to thrive in a networked world? We are no longer talking about exchanging cards and emails at a networking event. How can we be more strategic about our networks? Learn how to better network even when you hate networking or are an introvert. Stop networking for network’s sake and build strategic networks. This interactive and fun workshop designed to help you build networks for your success in your community and career.

Presenter: Roshonda DeGraffenreid, Assistant Director and Pre-law Advisor in the Career Development Center at Mount Holyoke college

Areas: Community & Networking

Audience: Open to all

How to Tackle Classism on Campus

Session Description:

The new student group Class Awareness, Support, and Equality at MIT has been breaking barriers and discussing class disparities on campus and creating new resources to support low-income students. Some students from CASE would like to host a session for the first-generation summit that might be relatable to some students in attendance. This session would include 1. Talking about some classist things students might have seen or heard on their campus and discussing in what ways one’s class background could be hindering in the college environment and 2. What one could do on their campus if they wanted to create a more inclusive environment at their college campus for students from lower income backgrounds.

Presenters: Lisa Lozano ’17 and René Andrés García Franceschini ’19, president and funding coordinator, respectively for Class Awareness, Support, and Equality (CASE)

Areas: Activism on Campus, Residence/Campus Life, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Students, Grad Students

Distance Education: Beyond the Screen of the First Gen Adult Learner

Session Description:

A panel of University Without Walls students, both current and former to field questions from attendees on the situational, instutitional, dispositional, and epistemological barriers to graduation

Presenters: Bradley Riley, current student 1st Generation adviser and professor at University Without Walls Professor Lisa Modenos, PhD and 2 more students TBD

Areas: Intersectionality, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Students, Faculty, Administrators, Large school

I Am Not an Imposter

Session Description:

Even after reaching great colleges and proving their excellence, high-achieving students still struggle with imposter syndrome. I would like to give a presentation and have a group discussion on overcoming the ever-crippling imposter syndrome.

Presenter: Phyllis Njoroge, Tufts ’19

Areas: Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: All audiences

Lunchtime Round-Tables

For lunch we gather to network and have dialog about a variety of discussion topics. Do you want to submit a discussion idea? Let us know here.  Or just send us an email.

Workshop Session 3

1:20 – 2:05pm

So You Want To Fight For Justice?: The First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship

Session Description:

Breaking in to the social justice workforce can be especially difficult for first generation college students. Our panelists will discuss their experience doing so through the First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship and the resources they have found to help.

Presenters: 1 or 2 current first generation college students that participated in a civil rights fellowship program, 1 or 2 first generation college alumni that also participated in this program and currently work in public interest, 1 or 2 coordinators for the first generation civil rights fellowship in DC

Areas: Community & Networking, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience, Entering into the workforce

Audience: Open to all

College Internships and the Pathway to (In)equality: A Study of First-Generation Student Well-being during Internship Placement

Session Description:

As students pursue higher education, they often take part in paid or unpaid internships in order to enhance their educational experience and build their social and economic capital. Research has shown that access to both paid and unpaid internship programs is not equal for all students. This inequality can stem from, but not be limited to, a person’s socioeconomic ability to part take in internship programs and organizations’ ability to rebrand jobs into an internship. This paper investigates, through mixed-methodology, qualitative and quantitative methodology, the degree to which socioeconomic status impacts choice of major or degree field, the likelihood of having access to paid and unpaid internships, and the overall experience and well-being of first-generation students participating in internship programs.

Presenter: Christian Rafael Suero, George Mason University

Areas: Intersectionality, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience, First Generation Students and Internship Placement

Audience: Open to all

Creating a First Generation Network Across Five Colleges

Session Description:

More than two years ago, students at Amherst, Hampshire, and Smith independently started first generation student organizations at their institutions. The three schools are part of a Five College Consortium that also includes Mount Holyoke College and UMass Amherst and enables students from each institution to take classes at all five colleges. The student leaders of the organizations connected from the beginning and set out to create a network of first generation students across the five colleges. These efforts led to two mixers for students, two conferences, and a mentoring program. In this session, attendees will learn about (1) strategies for creating crucial student support networks for first generation students, (2) models for effective partnerships between students, faculty, administrators, and staff, and (3) student organizing strategies for institutional change.

Presenters: Helen Mayer, Smith College ’17

Areas: Activism on Campus, Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School, Community & Networking, Intersectionality, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Open to all

Small Changes Big Impacts!

Session Description:

This session will provide an overview of a variety of small, activities, actions and policy changes that have been taken at college across the US to support low income and first gen-students. Including MIT’s Giant “I’m First” posters, Brown Universities alumni database with a searchable first gen-selection, the University of Virginia’s UFUSED coalition (Undergraduate Students United for Socioeconomic Diversity), Skidmore’s Class Secrets Book and others.

Presenters: Adj Marshall, Class Action

Areas: Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School

Audience: Open to all

Post-Graduation Planning? Practical Advice from Fellow First Gen Students

Session Description:

The workshop will center around creating a holistic post-graduation strategic plan. We will highlight the basic components of a professional and personal strategic plan- from framing undergraduate experiences to leveraging current networks (social capital) and how to best expand those networks in order to support future goals. Additionally, we will discuss: gap year(s) and how to best utilize them, navigating the process of applying to graduate school, and starting your career.

Presenters: Casey Jo Dufresne, graduate student at Bridgewater State University and Program Director at Amherst College; Vivivanna Alverez, Admissions Counselor at Hampshire College; 2 current college students TBA

Areas: Community & Networking, Intersectionality, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience, post graduation

Audience: Students, Grad Students

Hooyo, Somalia Needs More Than Doctors

Session Description:

Being relatively new – a majority of somalis are first generation college students. Education is emphasized in the average Somali household because we are all expected to go back and “save” Somalia. We want to discuss the ways in which academia is talked about (and placed on a pedestal) and also how we had to go about unlearning a lot of the pressures from our family. We all had to at one point tell our parents that Somalia wouldn’t get saved by JUST doctors. We want to share our narratives, our journeys in academia and outside of academia.

We are going to be using black feminist lens/theory for a lot of our analysis, we will discuss a little bit of Somali history (context is always important) to understand whats happening right now. and finally we will also discuss how education is intrinsically tied to *capitalism* and how when our parents say “get a degree, get your education” what they mean is “get a career that makes money”

Presenter: Amina Mohamed – Tufts University ’18 Fatuma Mohamed – Northeastern University ’20 Sadiya Gurhan – Northeastern University ’20

Areas: Activism on Campus, Community & Networking, Intersectionality, Straddling home and school / Code switching, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Open to all

In our Own Voice: Williams’ Student Led First Gen Pre-Orientation Program

Session Description:

In this session we will discuss our student centered, student led pre-orientation program for incoming first gen students. The program leadership is selected, trained and overseen by students. The pre-orientation is designed to have student input and coordination at the core. In this session we will highlight the philosophy behind our unique program. We will highlight the component parts and have students share their experiences are leaders and recent participants of the pre-orientation program

Presenters: Rosanna Reyes, Associate Dean of the College, Alejandra Moran ’17, First Gen Initiatives Coordinator (undergraduate intern), Sara Hetherington ’19, Pre-Orientation 2021 Co-Director, TBD, Pre-Orientation 2021 Leader

Areas: Best Practices – What’s Working for Your School, Community & Networking, Ups and Downs of the 1st Gen Experience

Audience: Open to all