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First-Generation Grads Initiative

The First-Gen Grads Initiative Pilot Program

First-generation graduate students is one group which struggle with navigating the varied spaces within higher education. This initiative is designed to address the needs of first-generation graduate students with a multi-pronged approach involving 1) peer mentorship, 2) professional development, and 3) a series of networking events. Ultimately, the goal of this program is to support graduate students in their development and ensure student success. 

Peer Mentorship Program

Through a peer mentorship program, graduate students will be able to take advantage of the knowledge of their peers in both formal and informal settings. Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy will be paired with students who are in the early stages of their academic career. 

Application Deadline: February 21, 2020 (EXTENDED 2/28!)


Professional Development Workshops

The first-generation graduate student initiative will include a series of professional development events designed to support students in both their personal and professional development. These events will strive to be active, engaged, and community based. 

First-Gen Grad Brown Bag Lunch Series

April 23, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Via Zoom

Topic: Career Exploration - Navigating through Alternative Career Paths as a First-Gen Grad

It can be difficult to navigate the many different alternative career paths available to graduates, or First-Gen Grads may not even realize that options exist outside of academia. The goal of this workshop is to demystify both academic and non-academic careers for First-Generation Graduate students.

First-Gen Grad Brown Bag Lunch Series

May 14, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Via Zoom | REGISTER

Topic: Mentor Web - Building Your Mentorship Network

The most successful graduate students have not one, but many mentors who each provide expertise and support on a specific domain of a student’s mentorship needs. In this session, participants will hear about the benefits of mentor networks, as well as create their own plan for a robust and personalized mentorship network.


First-Gen Grad Brown Bag Lunch Series

May 28, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Via Zoom | REGISTER

Topic: Teacher-Student Relationships for First-Generation Graduate Students

College classrooms can be a new and intimidating space to navigate for first-generation graduate students—especially when they are the ones in charge. This session will focus on the many issues that first-generation students encounter such as establishing presence in the classroom, overcoming knowledge gaps, and mentoring first-gen undergrads.

Networking Events

One of the goals of the program is to create awareness as well as a sense of connection among first generation students. To that end, a series of networking events will be designed to provide a space for first generation graduate students to network, speak out about their experiences, as well as challenges in graduate school.

The Challenges of First-Generation Identities in Graduate School

A roundtable discussion about the challenges of being a first-generation graduate student, as well as strategies for overcoming those challenges. 

January 23, 2020: 4:00-5:00pm | SCC Room E | RSVP HERE


First-Gen Grads: End of Winter Quarter Networking Event 

March 12, 2020: 5:00-6:00 pm | Bistro 33


CANCELED: First-Gen Grads: Spring Quarter Welcome Networking Event 

April 2, 2020: 5:00-6:00 pm | Bistro 33


First-Gen Grads: End of Year Networking Event 

June 4, 2020: 5:00-6:00 pm | Via Zoom | REGISTER


Contact the GSADC ( to:

  • Learn more about the First-Generation Graduate Student Initiative 
  • Join our First-Generation Graduate Student List-serve
  • Any other questions/comments/concerns