‘I AM FIRST Week’ Celebrates Kent State Alumni

Kent State University is celebrating its first-generation students this week with a series of events and programs to spotlight and encourage current students who will be the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. 

The purpose of the week is to increase campus awareness and engagement of students, alumni, staff and faculty who are first-generation, and to promote resources, programs and services that support first-generation student success. 

The university will celebrate students, staff, faculty and advocates for their accomplishments and support of first-generation students and their journeys. 

Events will be celebrated on various Kent State campuses. More information on I AM FIRST Week, including a list of all activities, can be found here. The week is sponsored by Academic Diversity Outreach within University College.  

As part of the celebration, some alumni who were first-generation students shared their stories in their own words: 

Alumna Lisa Evans was a first-generation student.
Lisa Evans 

Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication  

“I was a first-gen undergrad student, and I am the only person in my immediate family to receive a master's degree. A challenge I face quite often is not feeling good enough to be in the spaces I encounter. I overcome this challenge by remembering that I am here for a reason and that I am an example to the generations behind me of what they can begin to achieve.  

“Finding mentors in my field who have walked the same journey I am walking has been a great resource to help me navigate college. I would tell first-generation students to be confident in who you are and where you are going. Don't let what you may not have seen growing up make you feel that you are inadequate. Don't let friends who may not be on your same journey deter you or make you feel less than who you are.” 




Antoine Williams 

Hospitality Management Major with Pan-African Studies Minor 
Alumnus Antoine Williams was a first-generation student.

“A challenge I faced coming into college was communication skills. I learned how to communicate by attending various career development workshops and by participating in student activities around campus. The Student Success Center was a great resource for tutoring services and the Academic Diversity Outreach office helped me stay on course thanks to the Academic Advantage program. The Student Multicultural Center was another resource that helped me navigate life in college. I would tell first-gen students to not be indifferent towards college life and community; start with a plan and find resources to help you succeed in your journey and excel towards your future.” 



POSTED: Tuesday, November 08, 2022 08:35 AM
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2023 06:46 AM
University Communications and Marketing