First-Generation Students

At Penn College, we celebrate the first-generation student experience. You are a force of inspiration and empowerment. Together, we can transform tomorrow. 

We celebrate you.

November 8

Penn College is proud to join institutions, corporations, non-profits, and K-12 schools across the nation to shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of first-generation college students.

Mark your calendar.


Why November 8?

November 8 was selected to commemorate the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, creating federal financial aid programs, which reduce barriers to first-generation student success.

Uplift the ocassion.

Check back as the date gets closer for an agenda detailing special week-long events designed to bring first-gen students and champions together to make connections and share their stories. 

Future Made By Hand

Join the community.

Whether you're a first-gen student, a champion, or both, raise your hand and your voice. Together, we can boost awareness and embolden the first-gen journey. Identify via the form below to learn about upcoming initiatives and engagement events designed to build a community of advocates across campus. 


Contact Information
You're considered a first-generation college student if your parents have not earned a four-year college degree.
A champion may or may not be a first-generation college student. These individuals support and elevate the first-generation student experience.

What is a first-generation student?

A first-generation college student is defined as someone having parents or guardians who have not earned a four-year college degree. Nearly 47% of Penn College students identify as first-generation. We also have former first-generation college students among our faculty and staff.

Tomorrow is in the Making

“If you’re a first-generation student, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Connect with other first-gens (of all ages and experience levels) to see how we did it!”

Summer Bukeavich

Associate Professor, Business Administration/Management & Marketing

“Being a first-gen student means doing hard things but feeling greater success.”

Kaysey Beury

Coordinator of Student Success Solutions 

“Being a first-generation college student didn't mean as much to me as it did to my parents. I will be forever grateful for my parents and their ability to see what was best for me, even when I couldn't see it for myself.”

Chuck Crews, Jr.

Assistant Director for Secondary Partnerships

“As a first-generation student, I was able to open doors that might not have opened otherwise. It’s not only about the education, but the opportunities, networking, and connections along the way!”

Christine Eckenrod

Assistant Professor/Director Radiography

“Being a first-generation college student means I get the privilege of breaking generational cycles while leading by example. I also get to redefine myself and the journey expected of me.”

Ashlee Felix-Taveras

Assistant Director of Student Engagement

“I am proud to be a first-generation college student. My goal is to share my knowledge with others so they don’t have to go it alone.”

Sue Kelly

Dean, School of Business, Arts & Sciences

“Having been a first-generation student, I am grateful for the work my family put forth in order for me to have the privilege to expand my learning and opportunities.”

Michael Reed


“My educational journey was not typical of most college students. I spent 20 years earning a bachelor’s degree. Being a first-generation college student means the world to me.”

Howard Troup

Instructor, Automated Manufacturing & Machining

“Being a first-generation college student means paying homage to those before me and trailblazing for those coming after me.”

Nate Woods, Jr.

Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion Transformation