Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Please help!

Greetings Colleague:

Kim McAloney and Clare Cady are conducting a study entitled “Impacts of First-Generation College Student Identity on the Work of Student Affairs Professionals.” As the title suggests, their interest is in capturing the voices of persons working in Student Affairs who were first-generation students. The future implications of this study are that it could:

  • Contribute to the creation of a more common language and understanding of the experiences of Student Affairs professionals who were first-generation students.
  • Increase awareness within institutions and professional organizations that there may be barriers or unique needs related to the identity of first-generation student among Student Affairs professionals.
  • Increase awareness within institutions and professional organizations that there may be increases and advancements in cultural capital by lending voice to Student Affairs professionals who were first-generation students.
  • Contribute to the creation of support, inclusivity, access, and professional development that will positively impact Student Affairs professionals who were first-generation students.
  • Celebrate the unique contributions that Student Affairs professionals were first-generation students have made to the field of Student Affairs.
This study is meant to capture personal narrative, perspective, and experience. The research question is:

How (if at all) does your identity as a first generation college student affect your Student Affairs practice?

In participating you are invited to share your narrative as text, audio, or video. When you choose to submit your answer via this survey tool you will be able to upload documents or files, or you can choose to type your text within the survey itself. You are welcome to take as much or as little time in creating your narrative. There are no maximum or minimum requirements to participate. You will also be invited to share demographic information and contact information for purposes of data analysis and further research. Please note that sharing demographic or contact information is not required in order to share your narrative.

Participants should self-identify as having been a first-generation student, and have held a position within Student Affairs. Participation in the survey will be confidential unless you opt to share your contact information to participate in potential further research.

Here’s a link to the survey: http://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cFH9hCVSoWKgxPT. The survey will be available until June 16, 2014.

If you have questions about this study, please contact Co-Investigators, Kim McAloney at kim.mcaloney@oregonstate.edu, and Clare Cady at clare.cady@oregonstate.edu.

Kim and Clare appreciate those who are willing and able to participate. If you yourself are first generation, please feel free to participate.  If you know of other colleagues who may be first gen or interested in helping with recruitment for this study, please forward this information on to them.

Kim McAloney, Primary Investigator, Oregon State University

Clare Cady, Co-Investigator, Oregon State University

Monday, March 10, 2014

The First Generation- Michael Sprinkle

Going to college in our family was never really a choice. Even though my mom would tell you it
was, the subliminal or the not so subtle message was that we would go to college, get a great job,
make some money, and live a better life. For me that was just the way of life.
You see, I am from a family where my sister was the first one to go to college. I remember when
she went and that it was a big deal for our family. She was a trailblazer for us and because she
went into the medical field, she became the resident ailment expert for our entire family.
When I went to college, I went with the same pomp and circumstance as the others before me.
However, I was the just the second to graduate from college, and I was the first to attend graduate
school. I didn’t really realize the importance of being the first until graduate school. That was
when I learned about this term “first generation.”

I had no idea what a first generation college student was, and I examined that culture during
graduate school. It was my program chair at Indiana State who pushed us to look at those aspects
of our lives. I thank him for that because I probably would not have taken an interest had it not
been for him.

I wish I had known more about being a first ­generation college student when I went to Purdue. I
might not have had some of the issues I faced or I might have sought help more often. However,
one thing I did do was to surround myself with good people. They were people who took me under
their wing and helped mentor me.
So I pay it forward. I have mentored young adults both in college and high school. Right now, my
high school kids are selecting colleges. It is bittersweet. I still remember getting the acceptance
letter and my mom taping it to the front door of our family business so I would see it when I came
to the grain elevator that day.

The moral for all of you is that regardless if you were a first ­generation college student, you never
know the access that a young adult has had to college or their life story. As higher education
professionals we need to be able to continue to mentor, ask more questions, and find our students’
stories. You just never know the impact you will make on their life!