St. Lawrence University’s First-Gen Initiative (FGI) was recently featured by the NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success on its blog that features new and innovative approaches from partner institutions.
Coordinator of Retention and Academic Support Tina Tao was the guest writer for the post which highlights St. Lawrence’s program and the ways it celebrates and supports first-generation college students at the University.
The FGI was established during the fall 2020 semester, a markedly different academic period on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That didn’t deter anyone at St. Lawrence from setting the initiative in motion.
“With the dedication and support of 40+ faculty and staff colleagues, we initiated a hallmark event: our first-gen mentoring program,” Tao wrote. “This mentoring program aims to match our first-gen scholars with a faculty or staff mentor who was also a first-gen student or is an ally to our initiatives.”
First-gen students make up 19% of St. Lawrence’s overall student population. In the fall 2021 semester, the FGI recorded 63 student participants in the mentoring program.
In March 2021, St. Lawrence University was recognized as a First-gen Forward institution by the Center. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.
Tina TaoCoordinator of Retention and Academic Support
Tina, who was a first-generation college student, arrived at St. Lawrence in Fall 2012 to teach general chemistry labs and in the University's First-Year Program. In 2015, she joined the Academic Advising team. In 2021 she defended her dissertation, "Metacognition and First-Year College Success: Understanding the Experiences of the Underrepresented in STEM," to earn her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern.