First Generation Students Discuss Their Experiences | Newspaper


SHEPHERDSTOWN – On Monday there was a local celebration of students, faculty, staff and first generation alumni at Shepherd University, a celebration focused on those who are the first in their families to go to college .

Shepherd participated in the National Day honoring the achievements and contributions of first generation students, faculty, staff and alumni. The university organized campus tours for seniors in Berkeley County during the afternoon, and there was a program that included discussions about the trips of some of the first generation students and employees. by Shepherd.

Michaela Sencindiver, originally from Inwood, is a member of TRIO Student Support Services, a grant program funded by the federal government through the United States Department of Education. TRIO’s Student Support Services serve undergraduate students who are first generation college students, income eligible and / or have a documented disability. Sencindiver is a graduate student at Shepherd and is also a graduate assistant for TRIO. She is enrolled in the College Student Development and Administration (CSDA) program and hopes to pursue student activities in higher education.

“I joined TRIO here on campus as a first generation student, and it helped me a lot. It gave me lots of opportunities to explore and understand who I was in a safe space. I had a lot of extra help through them to overcome a lot of difficulties and issues as a first generation student. It was helpful to be able to find these resources, ”Sencindiver said. “I would love to stay local and continue to be a little college worker, but if life takes me in a different direction then I’m ready for that, too.”

Another first generation student, Joselin Fuentes is from Ranson and a Shepherd University graduate working for the Upward Bound program, where she helps high school students who wish to pursue higher education.

“It is important that first generation students know that they are not the only ones and that there is a network for them. This is our goal. Throughout the week we have highlighted the faculty and staff who are also first generation students, ”said Fuentes. “It’s nice to stay here and be able to help and give back to high school kids. “

Nationally, one third of all students are first generation, according to the press release. This statistic is true in Shepherd, where 31.32% of undergraduate students are the first in their family to graduate from college. Among doctoral students, 29.45% of master’s level students and 74.07% of doctoral students are first generation.

Additionally, to celebrate the accomplishments of these first generation students and alumni, faculty and staff, TRIO-SSS also features the stories of first generation individuals on its Celebrating Our First Generation Students webpage.

Breanna Shifflett, a high school student from Martinsburg High School, attended the event and is also a member of the TRIO program.

“I’ve been planning to go to Shepherd for a while. It is the dream school of a small town. I’m a first generation student and since I was little my parents tell me I’m going to college. I was thrilled to go to college and study, ”Shifflett said. “It’s scary at first, but being involved and being a first generation student made me want to be in college even more.”

The statement said that in 2017, NASPA’s Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the inaugural celebration of the first-generation college on November 8, the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act. of 1965. Each year since, colleges across the country have joined in celebrating the first generation students on their campuses on this day.


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