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First-Generation Initiative

The First-Generation Initiative Pilot Program

First-generation graduate students is one group which struggle with navigating the varied spaces within higher education. The UC Office of the President defines first generation graduate students as those “students with neither parent having a four-year college degree.” 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 



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: Community Connections Lunch (brownbag)

April 23, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Location TBD |  Topic: TBA 


First-Gen Grad: Community Connections Lunch (brownbag)

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.

May 14, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Location TBD 


First-Gen Grad: Community Connections Lunch (brownbag)

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. 

May 28, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Location TBD 


Faculty Focused Event

First-Gen Grad: Community Connections Lunch (brownbag)

Topic: Mentoring Up - Educating Faculty about First-Generation Graduate Student Support

This session will focus on helping faculty understand the needs of first-generation graduate students as well as a discussion on strategies that faculty can use to build positive relationships with first-gen students.

May 21, 2020: 12:00-1:00 pm | Location TBD 


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: Back To School Networking Event 

April 2, 2020: 5:00-6:00 pm | Location TBD


First-Gen Grads: End of Year Networking Event 

June 4, 2020: 5:00-6:00 pm | Location TBD



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