Nov 08, 2019

Students show their pride and sense of achievement as first-generation students during the national #IAmFirst campaign.

  • - Kaylee Isler, Alex Dalton, Yamilette Garcia, Kaleigh Moser and Courtney Mackulin.

  • - Yamilette Garcia and Kaylee Isler.

  • - Kaleigh Moser and Courtney Mackulin.

Cal U students stopped by a table in the Natali Student Center on Nov. 8. There, members of Cal U's TRIO Club greeted them and invited them to post their thoughts as a member of the first generation in their families to attend a four-year college. 

"It makes my family proud," one wrote.

"Anyone can be successful with a little hard work."

"Better future."

"Great opportunity."

"Being 1st generation gives me a huge sense of pride. I am proud to represent my family and be a role model for future generations."

Sophomore psychology major Kaleigh Moser and sophomore social work major Courtney Mackulin are members of the TRIO Club.

"It's like having a second family at college," Moser said. "And it's cool to learn about other people like me."

"I made a lot of friends from TRIO Club," Mackulin said. "Kaleigh and I became friends once we realized we were both members."

The 2019 #IAmFirst campaign marks the 54th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 higher Education Act, which formed programs like TRIO. 

The campaign was launched in 2017 by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-generation Student Success. The day is meant to help campus communities better understand the needs of this population of students. 

The TRIO Student Support Services program at Cal U provides support services to low-income students, first generation college students, and disabled students. Eligible students may receive personal and academic career counseling, career guidance, instruction, mentoring, and tutoring. The goal of SSS program is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and help students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next.