At Virginia Tech, a student is identified as a first-generation college student if neither parent/guardian has earned a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university.
Like all college students, first-generation students enroll into higher education institutions to earn their degree. The focus for most is to shift the trajectory of their families with minimal financial burden on others because of their decision to advance their education. In order to offset college costs (tuition, books, rent, food, etc.) first-generation students are more likely to be employed while enrolled.
This impacts their ability to be involved in experiences that allow for personal and professional development, such as student organizations, internships, research, and study abroad. Opportunities like internships and research allow the students to test drive their career goals and begin to build professional networks, and study abroad gives students that competitive edge in their global awareness.
Pictured: Asst. Dean of Students Tamara Cherry-Clarke with First-Gen Students at a Deloitte Lunch & Learn for VT First-Gen Week 2022
First-Generation Student Support are trying to raise $4,000+. Will you help us?
First-generation students most often select degrees that promise the highest earning potential because completing their degree is not only for their sense of accomplishment but for building of generational wealth and family pride. They may have the competitive GPA but sometimes fall short of those relevant work experiences employees seek in candidates. Completing a rigorous academic program while sometimes working 30-40 hours per week, prevents them from being engaged in co-ops/internships or other key experiences. Missing out on valuable experiential opportunities causes “an important gap in the work experience of first-generation students because interning or working at a job aligned with their field of study improves both academic and career performance and solidifies the value of academic efforts as economic gain” and can impact the competitiveness of their resume (Grice and Grice, 2021, p. 248).
The additional financial burden to seek those valuable experiences is often the reason students forgo internships, research, or study abroad. First-generation students are resilient and resourceful learners who have made the decision to pave the way for future generations in their family. They are completing the goals they have set to achieve, let us help them build a successful path.
Your generous donation helps to support a first-generation student to gain significant life experiences beyond the classroom that can lead to their personal and professional development - experiences they wouldn't otherwise have access to. In small and large ways, you will be helping our bright first-generation students to thrive.
Pictured at the top are first-generation Hokie students Shamiya Rowe (far right) who currently works as an intern for Virginia Tech Human Resources in the Employee Relations department and Amanda Leckner (center) currently a research intern at The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, based in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for helping our first-generation Hokie students thrive!
Donate to funds for immediate needs related to interviews and internship support for first-generation Hokie student.
Subsidize the cost of a first-generation Hokie student's professional organization membership fee.
Help to support the costs associated with interviews (materials, preparation, apparel, transportation, etc) for a first-generation Hokie student.
Help to support the costs associated with attending an unpaid internship (transportation, materials, etc) for a first-generation Hokie student.
Help to support the cost of a conference to present their research or professional development for the career goals of a first-generation Hokie student.
Help to support costs of a study abroad experience for a first-generation Hokie student.