At NYU, we use the term "first-generation" or "first-gen" to refer to students who are first in their immediate family to attend college in the US. At CAS, Proud to Be First seeks to engage and support students who self-identify as first-generation college students. The program is designed to support first-generation students in making a successful transition to CAS and NYU while cultivating investment and engagement in the College and University communities. These goals are accomplished by helping students to create supportive networks, establish personal and academic goals, get connected to campus resources and services, and meet other first-generation students, faculty, and staff.
Proud Mentors for First-Year First-Gen Students
A hallmark of Proud to Be First is its opt-in peer mentorship program for first-year, first-gen students. All first-year, first-gen students are offered the opportunity to have a peer mentor. Proud Mentors plan and implement meetings, events, and workshops for first-year students. Additionally, they help connect first-year students to College and University resources, faculty members, alumni, and staff. Proud Mentors are encouraged to share their stories and experiences to promote students’ success and engagement.
Faculty Connect Program for Second-Year First-Gen Students
The goal of Faculty Connect is to help create mutually beneficial networks between second-year students and CAS faculty members. Faculty Connect provides opportunities for students and faculty to engage in learning partnerships centered on student academic, professional, social, and life goals. Faculty members share their experiences as well as expertise, giving students invaluable opportunities and putting them on the path to success.
Proud to Be First Advocates
Proud to Be First Advocates are distinguished faculty members and staff who have an invested interest in supporting first-generation students in the College. They are volunteers from across the College of Arts and Science (CAS). The premise of Proud Advocates is to serve as a component of the first-generation student support system. Students are encouraged to reach out to an Advocate whether they are in need of alternative support or wish to develop their network at New York University.
Proud to Be First holds strategic programs throughout the fall and spring semesters. These university-wide programs focus on sharing applicable resources, connecting students with their community and providing a platform for intellectual discussion. In addition, Proud Mentors provide academic and social programming to their first-year mentees. This programming allows students to get to know one another and provides building blocks to enrich their experience at the College and University. In the Spring semester, Proud to Be First collaborates with the Academic Achievement Program and the International Student Advising team to provide a free opportunity for students to take a 3-day, 2-night visit to Washington, DC where they tour the NYU Washington, DC site and visit important cultural and government sites in the nation's capital. Periodically, Proud to Be First sponsors events that introduce students to pre-professional positions; in 2018, the program hosted a panel of Columbia Law School students and in 2019, a trip to the medical facility of a distinguished NYU alumnus who is now a highly successful doctor in New York City.
Proud to Be First publish biweekly newsletters to provide resources from across the University for first-generation students. The newsletter also features spotlights on Proud Mentors. Most recently, the newsletter has begun spotlighting students and faculty who have been involved in funded research at NYU, through the NYU DURF Grant.