First Generation Week Sparks Connection | ECTC

First Generation Week Sparks Connection

Published on Nov 17, 2022

Nearly one in five ECTC students is considered first-generation, meaning neither parent holds a college degree. With the help of funding through the Center for First Generation Student Success, ECTC hosted their first annual First-Generation Celebration Week. A $500 grant through the center allowed the First-Gen team on campus to plan a week of excitement celebrating the tenacity and dedication of first-generation students and connecting those in the first-generation community, allowing them to share experiences and gain courage for their future.

“As a first-generation college student, I had to face the challenges of learning and understanding the college system on my own,” said ECTC Registrar Bryan Smith. “My experience has given me the ability to always finish what I start, even when life gets in the way. My advice to a first-generation student is to always ask questions when you don’t understand something.”

Smith gave that advice to listeners during the ‘Just Like Me: First-Gen Faculty and Staff Panel’ on Tuesday Nov. 8, during the week of celebration. Smith was joined by other faculty and staff who gave accounts of their own struggles and motivations as a first-generation college student, often echoing how challenging it can be to learn the college process.

ECTC is committed to meeting that challenge with on-campus support through the Student Success HUB, such as enrollment help, tutoring, study skills, food insecurity assistance, lounge space and more.

ECTC also hosted a First Gen Coffee and Conversation event and the ‘I Can Do It, You Can Do It: First Gen Graduates in the Workforce Panel.’ Each event gave first-gen students the opportunity to ask questions and gain perspective toward their future goals with those who have walked a similar path. Many of the panelists as well as students were featured on posters displayed throughout the events that highlighted first-generation students experiencing success through campus resources and dedication.

ECTC first-generation and business administration student Elijah Lozano said he was able to connect with others in a similar experience during the First-Generation Celebration Week.

“It shows me just how important first-gen students are in this college and around the community,” said Lozano. “As we’re learning and meeting these people who can give us these experiences, it starts to help us realize we’re capable of doing what we want to do and accomplishing our dreams.”

ECTC is intentional when supporting first-generation students, developing resources like the Hudson First Generation Scholarship fund, established by alumna and first-generation student Selena Hudson and her husband Mike.

“Our team believes in seeking funding that makes a difference in the lives of our students,” said ECTC Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Megan Stith. “We are grateful to the Center for First Generation Student Success in helping us connect and celebrate first-generation students as they make valuable contributions to our college and community.”

For more information on First Generation week and to experience the week through photos and video, visit the First Generation Week webpage.