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Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center First-Generation Initiative Rotunda Scholars Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs

First-Gen Feature: Caroline Madrid

First-generation college students must overcome unique obstacles to be successful in college. Every obstacle comes with a story worth hearing. First-Gen Feature is a chance for first-generation college students to showcase their stories. Caroline Madrid, a first-year student shares what being first-gen means to her.

Q: What was your motivation for pursuing college?

A: My motivation for pursuing college was simply just to make my grandpa proud, he was a very smart man and he always inspired me to pursue my dreams. My parents were also another motivation, my parents worked really hard my entire childhood to provide for me and my siblings, and being able to return the favor was really important for me.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: My career goal is to make it as a lawyer and ultimately raise a happy family. As a first-gen, I’ve watched my parents work tirelessly every day to provide for me and my family and even today, they continue to work hard so I can be here. I want to not only release this burden off their shoulders but work hard for my future family.

Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved In and how do you manage course load and other aspects of life?

A: I have two jobs and Rotunda scholars where I have monthly and weekly requirements. The best way I have found to manage my courseload is to maintain my priorities and remember what I came to SMU for. Every day here at SMU is a reminder of the life I want to provide for myself and my family, and that gives me the strength to focus on my studies.

Q: What achievements are you most proud of?

A: Considering I am in my first year, I am proud of myself of staying persistent on my academics and maintaining good discipline while managing my two jobs and social relationships.

Q: Advice for first-gen students?

A: Don’t fight your battles alone, for so long I always thought I had nobody to help me through my hardships but after coming to SMU I realized so many of the faculty care about you and your success and truly want to see you succeed.

 

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First-Generation Initiative Student Academic Success Programs

First-Gen Social “Let’s Talk About FAFSA”

On Feb. 15, 30 first-gen students attended a workshop sponsored by the First-Gen Initiative, First-Gen Association, and Financial Literacy to discuss the changes in the FAFSA, answer questions and socialize. The presentation was conducted by Jennifer Gomez with several Financial Services advisors in attendance for one-on-one discussions. Also joining the students were members of the University Advising Center, who mixed with the students and discussed summer and fall registration plans. Thank you FGI, FGA and Financial Literacy for sponsoring an informative program in an informal way to help our first-gen students. The Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was enjoyed by ALL!

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First-Generation Initiative Student Academic Success Programs

First Gen Fest a success

The First Gen Initiative (FGI) and the First Gen Student Association (FGA), with support from SMU Student Senate, collaborated for the 2023 annual First Gen Fest. The celebration was a huge success with over 500 students, faculty, and staff celebrating our First Generation Mustangs. Chris Meyers (SASP/SAES), Brandon Kitchin (SCIE/Student Affairs), and members of the First Gen Student Association (FGA) coordinated food, games, resource tables and give aways to celebrate the contributions and successes of our First Gen Mustangs.

Thank you, Chris Meyers and Brandon Kitchin
Thank you partners, for our resource tables
Great food
First Gen T shirts were a hit
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Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies First-Generation Initiative Student Academic Success Programs

Changes in SASP Staff

 

Dr. Robin Corbett, DASS Coordinator, will be leaving SMU to be closer to her home and family to pursue new endeavors effective 7/7/2023. All student files will be temporarily reassigned until our new staff member arrives. For any questions, please call the office while we’re in this transition – 214-768-1470

We are welcoming the new Coordinator in July and will be introducing her before the fall semester begins.

Please join us in wishing Robin well and thank her for her work with SMU.

Our second change involves the First Gen Initiative.  These programs and student academic support will be overseen by Associate Director, Chris Meyers.  Chris has done an outstanding job working with our students on academic probation and will supervise a new academic counselor to take over those duties.  Chris is excited to work with our first generation students and pick up the program that has grown tremendously over the past three years.  He’ll work hand in hand with the advisor to the First Generation Association, the recognized student organization, to expand the programming and celebrations for these students.  Please contact Chris if you are interested in working with our First Gen students – cmeyers@smu.edu.  Any graduate student interested in joining this program as a graduate assistant should look at the job description on Handshake.

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Academic Center for Excellence First-Generation Initiative Honors and Scholars Rotunda Scholars

New Success Counselor joins Rotunda Staff

Briana Morales joins the Honors and Scholars team as the new Rotunda Scholars Success Counselor. A Texas Native, first-generation college graduate, and SMU alum, Briana earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in the SMU Counseling program. Since her time as an undergraduate, Briana worked with SMU’s First-Generation Initiative and First-Generation Association as a fierce advocate for many students whose struggles she knows too well.

Briana’s experience mentoring students, coordinating student centered events, and building relationships across campus will be a welcome addition to the Rotunda family. Briana is excited to join the Rotunda support system and community as it grows in number and expands services. Her favorite part of serving students is the relief and joy on students’ faces when they see how much you care. To her, there is no greater feeling than showing someone you care about their well-being and success. We are excited for Briana to join our team and begin working June 19th.

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First-Generation Initiative

First Generation Initiative’s new Instagram takeovers

Are you ready to share your SMU experience with the world? The First-Generation Initiative is excited to announce that we’re looking for enthusiastic first-generation students, faculty, and staff to participate in an Instagram takeover.

Students can showcase their student events, activities, and campus life! Faculty and staff can reflect on their own first-generation experience and offer tips for success.

It’s an excellent opportunity for our first-generation community to share your unique perspective, connect with a broader audience, and make your mark on our community’s social media.

Why should you participate in an Instagram takeover?

Share Your Story: This is your chance to highlight your experiences as a first-generation student, faculty, or staff member. Whether you’re a student involved in clubs, sports, or other activities, an Instagram takeover allows you to showcase your involvement, passion, and pride for our university. Faculty and staff can offer reflections to normalize the first-generation college experience. Everyone’s story matters – and we’re here for it.

Connect with Your Peers and Students: By taking over our Instagram account, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with students. It’s a chance to build a sense of community and foster meaningful connections on the Hilltop.

Be Creative and Have Fun: An Instagram takeover is a chance to unleash your creativity and have fun! You can experiment with different types of content, such as photos, stories, videos, polls, and more. You can also share your thoughts, insights, and perspectives on various topics related to your university experience. Faculty and staff, not sure what to do? We are here to help if you want to try out a new social media platform.

Contribute to FGI’s Social Media: By participating in an Instagram takeover, you’ll be contributing to your FGI’s social media presence and helping to showcase the vibrant and dynamic campus life. Your content can inspire and engage prospective students, alumni, and the broader community.

If you’re interested in participating in an Instagram takeover, here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Follow us on Instagram: Ensure you’re following our FGI official Instagram @smu1stgen account to stay updated on the latest news and announcements.
  2. Submit a request to take over Instagram via our webform

We will get in touch with you! We can’t wait to see the incredible content you’ll create and share with the SMU community and beyond.

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First-Generation Initiative

Expanding our first-generation college student Book & Support Fund

Materials required for classes are expensive. Many SMU first-generation students work multiple jobs to pay for class materials such as laptops, textbooks, and school supplies.

To support our students, the First-Generation Initiative (FGI) created a Book & Support Fund in the fall of 2022 to help first-year and transfer first-generation students obtain school supplies.

During 2022-2023, the FGI provided funds totaling $5,018 to 23 students for class materials. Students return materials to a lending library managed by FGI after the term. Therefore, other first-generation college students can use the resource in future semesters.

Help us expand this critical program, the Book & Support Fund, on March 7 via SMU Giving Day. This resource is invaluable to the FGI and our first-generation students. We look forward to raising funds to continue supporting student success on the Hilltop.

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First-Generation Initiative

Apply now: Book & Tech Fund

Need funds for book and tech supplies? First-Generation Initiative’s Book and Tech Fund is open now!

The Book and Tech Fund is intended to support first-generation first-year and first-generation transfer students obtain college supplies.

Funds are limited and applications are processed upon submission order. Be sure to apply ASAP!

Applications close on Wednesday, January 25th.

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First-Generation Initiative

First-Generation Association to host pre-professional series

First-Generation Association (FGA) is a student organization for first-generation college students and supporters of first-generation college students. FGA is hosting a pre-professional series for students interested in the pre-med track.

Join them at 5pm on November 1 in Hughes-Trigg Student Center rm. 209 to learn about available resources for pre-med students!

FGA was established during the spring of 2020; Their mission statement is as follows:

First-Gen Association is an educational organization which exists to foster a community of people interested in all aspects of being a first-gen student, or connecting with students who qualify as such; promoting students, creating a community at SMU that welcomes students from different backgrounds, connecting and creating partnerships with other first-gen students in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Students can RSVP via Connect.smu.

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First-Generation Initiative

Show your first-gen pride: First-Gen Fest

Mark your calendars for First-Gen Fest, SMU’s celebration of National First-Gen Day! First-Generation Initiative will host its third-annual First-Gen Fest on November 8, on Dallas Hall Lawn.

First-Gen Fest is for first-generation students, faculty, staff, and supporters of first-generation students wanting to celebrate their special day with them. Food/drinks will be provided while students have the opportunity to connect with faculty/staff, students, organizations and campus resources!

Faculty, staff and students can RSVP via SMU Connect.