WTAMU F1RSTGEN student panel

On Oct. 19, West Texas A&M University’s F1RSTGEN hosted the first We Are One talk, a panel of first-generation students giving their experiences as being the first one in their families to continue their education after high school.

F1RSTGEN is a student-led organization that thrives to encourage and support the first-generation student population at WTAMU.

The panel was hosted by Jonathan Cordova, study abroad coordinator and F1RSTGEN member and four other members of F1RSTGEN.

This panel is part of WTAMU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s We Are One talks, a series of informational discussions for faculty, staff and students about diverse topics.

The panel consisted of an introduction of what F1RSTGEN is and how the organization helps first-generation students along with partnering with other organizations for promotion.

After the introduction, guests were to ask the panel about some challenges they have faced being first-generation.

Some questions asked were, “How did you pick your majors?”, “Do you think faculty and staff serve your needs as a first-generation student?”, “What can the university work on to help smooth out the entry process for first-generation students?” and “What are ways that non first-generation students can help their first-generation friends?”

According to the Center for First-Generation Student Success, 24% of incoming freshmen in the United States had parents with no post-secondary education. Along with that, 56% of incoming freshmen in the U.S. had parents that did not have a bachelor’s degree.

“I remember going to an organization rally and the F1RSTGEN table was so inclusive,” said Rachel Widder, senior digital media communication major. “They were so eager to help us grow.”

According to WTAMU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, F1RSTGEN has set a series of goals for the organization. To build a strong and active organization for students, bring awareness concerning the value and diversity first-generation college students add to the campus culture and in the community, promote a positive interaction of the members with the community and to create an environment of unity and support that facilitates individual and group goals.

To learn more about We Are One talks, please visit https://www.wtamu.edu/about/diversity-inclusion/we-are-one-diversity-talks.html