This summit will include speakers and sessions focused on increasing knowledge and awareness of issues faced by first-generation college students and the support and services available to them.
Texas Tech University's Office of First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs, housed within the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, will host the one-day “I'm First Gen” Summit Thursday (April 26) in the Student Union Building (SUB).
The summit will bring together local high school and college students, higher education professionals and K-12 administrators interested in learning more about first-generation students, or students whose parents did not complete education beyond high school, and the resources available to them.
“The purpose of the ‘I'm First Gen' Summit is to promote access in higher education for first-generation college students, discuss issues those students face, and how we as students and professionals in the field of education can help address those issues,” said Ashley Gonzales, senior director of First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs, the Office of Academic Enrichment and the Dream Resource Center. “Through various presentations, panels and keynote addresses, this summit aims to educate our attendees about first-generation students and how we can contribute to their long-term success, retention and graduation at the post-secondary level.”
Jorge A. Ramírez, the Walter and Anne Huffman Professor of Law in the Texas Tech School of Law, will serve as the keynote speaker for the summit. Ramírez, who arrived at Texas Tech in 2000 and currently focuses his teaching and research on international law, is a 2014-15 recipient of the Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award, which is the highest teaching award bestowed within the Texas Tech University System. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard College and his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by an opening breakfast session in the SUB's Red Raider Ballroom. Breakout sessions will be led in the morning and afternoon by Texas Tech faculty and staff and local leaders and professionals in first- and second-floor SUB meeting rooms. Topics will include college readiness, financial aid, graduate school and supporting first-generation students.
Ramírez will deliver the keynote during lunch, and the summit will end with a first-generation student panel discussion, followed by closing remarks.
Gonzales hopes this will become an annual event.
“First-generation students may be the first in their family to attend college, but they are not the first to have walked the first-generation path at Texas Tech,” Gonzales said. “Texas Tech is a leader in higher education for these students. If we want more first-generation college students to succeed, it is our responsibility as educators to bring awareness and understanding of the unique identity of these students and to educate faculty, staff and students about the first-generation experience in higher education.”