A Celebration of First-Gen Students

Temple launched its inaugural First-Generation College Celebration this week, and kicked off events with a resource fair.

Over 200 students attended the event, which had games, snacks, and a variety of department tables ready to connect with students.

Calista Condo, an outreach specialist at the career center and a first-generation student herself, helped organize the event.

“We serve all students, so it’s really important for us to ensure that we are accessible and that students know they can come to us,” said Condo.

Students like Corrine Little were happy to hear that first-generation students were being celebrated.

A first-generation student herself, Little is familiar with the barriers students face.

“I think being a first generation student is a riveting but scary experience,” said Little. “I remember thinking about DARS and all that kind of stuff that Temple has, and it’s just very intimidating.”

Little is a senior biology major; this past summer, she participated in the Frances Velay Fellowship. The Velay Fellowship encourages the careers of young women in the sciences.

She hopes to continue her immunology research after graduation.

“I definitely think that Temple has a lot of programs,” said Little. “They have URP, the CARAS grants, there’s a lot of opportunities here; at least for the STEM students for first-generation to get students active and into research.”

Cheryl Zhang, a senior tourism and hospitality management major, is the President of Temple First, a student organization focused on empowering first-generation students.

“Being a first gen student means I have survived challenges that a lot of people have never had to worry about,” said Zhang.

Temple First’s goal is to connect with students, especially incoming freshmen and sophomores.

Through their organization, they connect students with mentorship programs that pair students with ideal professionals.

“Don’t be afraid to just ask questions, you’re not going to look stupid,” said Zhang. “Talk to different people, whether that is students, faculty, counselors.”

“That’s the great thing about Temple, everyone is welcoming,” Zhang added.

Roughly 30 % of all first-year students at Temple identify as first-generation. In addition, 40% of transfer students also identify as first-gen.

Little wants incoming students to surround themselves with other motivated individuals.

“Don’t give up you guys, you got this, you guys will perceiver we are strong, we are resilient. Even if you are not 100% sure what are doing,” said Little.

For more resources, students can visit Temple’s website for first-generation students.

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