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First to Fly

First to Fly logoPartners in Teaching and Learning is focusing this year on engaging first-generation college students with faculty and staff at Clarion University who have had similar educational journeys.

First-generation students are defined as students for whom neither parent earned a bachelor's degree. By developing a visible network of support on campus, advocates in the First to Fly program aim to foster a sense of community with our first-generation college students and enhance their academic and personal success.

All faculty and staff are welcome to join these initiatives. We are particularly interested in those who were also first-generation college students.

This is a project of Partners in Teaching and is supported by a Clarion University-wide FPDC grant.

First to Fly Resources

The following are resources for First to Fly students:

First to fly faculty and staff

Jim McGee, director of the Center of Wellness: "Get involved, meet people, ask lots of questions, and check your university email."

K WelschDr. Kathleen Welsch, English professor: “Some people see college as somehow making you better than where you came from. It makes people uneasy because they’re afraid you’re judging them as somehow less than you. But education doesn’t make you better, just different. You chose to go to college while friends and family may have made other choices. You need to be mindful of that. You need to be able to go home and still be a part of your family.”







SlatteryDr. Jeanne Slattery, psychology professor: "I want every one of my students to succeed. I remember how important it was when faculty reached out and supported me."






L FultonDr. Lacey Fulton, communication professor: "When I attended college, I had no idea what I was doing. I was nervous. My advisor and I did NOT click. I had no idea you could request a new one (#firstgenprobs) so I looked through my copy of the undergraduate catalog and memorized everything pertaining to my degree program. I was lucky that many of my high school friends also went to the same school – and honestly, I selected my major because that's what my best friend was in and well, I liked photography in high school and wanted to work in promotions for a band. Super smart, right? That friend eventually dropped out of school. I finished though – and was lucky enough to have a second-gen student, Lauren, (shown in the photo with me) as my support system. Together, we made connections with professors – and learned about a master's program that would put both of us on track to meeting our goals – because surprise, my thoughts of becoming a band promoter weren't really the best fit for my lifestyle. I wanted to stay close to my family and I got a dog... not exactly a great idea for a life touring with the band."

JDomitrovichJosh Domitrovich, coordinator for career mentoring and internships: "I've learned to view being a first-generation student as a superpower. We have grit, passion, and a worth ethic that sets us apart from most non-first-generational students. Like any good superhero, one must learn how to harness their power and use it to do better. That is why I do what I do as a career coach. Helping students sharpen their skills and find their career path is rewarding and life changing. Let us help you find and strengthen your skills to achieve success."



Last Updated 11/10/20