First-Generation Matters at All Levels of Education

First-generation means many things to the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State. Traditionally first-generation means students who are the first in their family to attend and complete an undergraduate degree. But at the Kremen School, it doesn’t end there. First-generation means a student may be the first in their family to enroll in a graduate or doctoral program. Or a student may be the first in their family to become a teacher, counselor or educational leader.

The Kremen School believes first-generation students at all levels deserve support and the opportunity to have a mentor who has been through similar circumstances.

That is why Dr. Laura Alamillo, Interim Dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, has launched the First-Generation Matters mentorship program.

This mentorship program connects first-generation students to first-generation faculty and staff mentors. Students receive the opportunity to build connections with faculty and staff who have been in their shoes and understand some of the hurdles first-generation students go through. Mentors help guide students to see the different pathways they can take in their education and career. They also support students through professional development and assist with any challenges they may have.

The First-Generation Matters mentorship program provides support to first-generation students not just for the journey through college but also the journey into their career.

Dean Alamillo has always had a passion for supporting first-generation students. When she realized Fresno State was not offering a first-gen mentorship program, she jumped at the opportunity to start one.

This program is available currently to Kremen School students but hopefully will grow to provide these relationships and resources to all first-gen Fresno State students.

Kicking the year off with a bash!

First-Generation Matters hosted their first-ever event on August 31. Connecting mentors and mentees and sharing inspiring stories. A handful of mentors spoke to a room of almost 70 first-gen students.


The mentor’s stories were moving and relatable for many of the students in the room. Some shared how they migrated to the United States and others shared how their families did not understand the path to higher education.

The unique aspect of this program is that the mentors are also first-gen. They can relate to these students on a deeper level. Learn more about the program here.

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