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Focus On EMU: Getting First-Generation College Students Off To A Good Start

When someone is the first in his/her family to go to college, the experience can be intimidating.  A upcoming event at Eastern Michigan University seeks to make such an experience much more inviting.  In this week's "Focus on EMU," WEMU's Patrick Campion talks to EMU TRIO Upward Bound program director Roderick Wallace and EMU TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) director Eric Reed about the "First-Generation College Celebration," which takes at EMU and many other college campuses on November 8th.

About the First-Generation College Celebration

EMU TRIO Upward Bound and EMU TRIO SSS would like to invite EMU staff to participate in our First-Generation College Celebration on November 8, 2018.  This event was created by the Council for Opportunity In Education, who supports TRIO programs nationwide. 

27% of current EMU student enrollment are first-generation college students.  As we engage in discussion about improving student retention and academic success, it is important to consider that first-generation college students are more likely to face financial hardships, have difficulty with the adjustment to college, and enter postsecondary education with lower levels of college readiness.  However, first-generation college students also show a high level of educational commitment.  We must nurture and support that! 

We want to celebrate our "1st Gen" students by distributing buttons to our self-identifying first generation college faculty, staff, and students.  If you are/were a first generation student, please fill out the survey at http://tiny.cc/1stgenemu.  We would like to deliver a pin to you the week of October 29th to wear on November 8th to insure that our students know that they have advocacy and support on campus and in the community. 

About Roderick Wallace

Born and raised in Flint, MI, where he graduated from Flint Central High School, Mr. Wallace later attended Eastern Michigan University and achieved bachelor's degrees in both History and African-American Studies.  Soon after, he received my Masters in Education from Marygrove College. For almost 20 years, he has had the privilege of working with thousands of inner-city youth through my work as a teacher and school administrator.  Prior to joining the team at EMU UB, he served as an administrator at River Rouge High School, where we specialized in trauma-sensitive practices and raised several million dollars in scholarship funds for students.  

About Eric Reed

Mr. Reed has been employed at Eastern Michigan University since 2012.  He was formerly the Coordinator of the EMU Opportunity Program and began as Director of TRIO SSS in March 2018.  He joined EMU because of the authenticity among staff and students and because EMU is integral to the metro-Detroit area, which he calls home.

Outside of work and school, he loves entrepreneurship, exercising, playing sports, traveling and spending time with family. He believes in the 21st century "you must work a job from 9-5 and create your job from 5-9."  

To know what's it like to be a first-generation college student, watch the video below.

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— Patrick Campion is the WEMU Program Director.  You can contact Patrick at734.487.3363, on twitter @WEMUPC, or email him at pcampion@emich.edu

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