S5E11 - The First of Everything

March 14, 2023
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • For the Record
  • Student Success
  • Academic Records
  • diversity equity and inclusion
  • first generation
  • for the record
  • Leadership
  • Student Access and Equity
  • Student Success
Listen Here - S5E11 - The First of Everything

What is it like to be the first person in your family to be the first of everything? The first to attend college, the first to earn multiple advanced degrees, the first to be elected president of a regional professional association? In this episode Dr. Soraira Urquiza talks about her higher education and career journeys, highlighting the specific challenges first generation students encounter. We also discuss resources institutions should provide for first gen students and ways to ensure the students who need them are aware of them. 

Key Takeaways:
  • First generation students have different support needs than students whose families have more experience navigating the college environment. And they may not even be aware that they have those needs until they’re in educational trouble. Institutions need to be proactive with outreach and be persistent with follow-up.

  • Administrators should review their policies, websites, and communications, through the lens of a first generation student (or even work with actual first generation students in this effort!) to make sure that they are clear and communicate the anticipated message.

  • If you work as a registrar for 16 years and serve as the president of a regional association, you’re always going to be welcome in the AACRAO family, even if you move on to your dream job of teaching at a community college. And the universe will remind you of this in ways you couldn’t imagine.

Sarah Reed, University Registrar
University of California - Berkeley


Doug McKenna, University Registrar
George Mason University


Dr. Soraira Urquiza
Assistant Professor, Chicana/o/x Studies
Los Angeles City College
Additional Resources:

Faculty & Staff Resources – First-Gen+ Center

Center for First-generation Student Success




Core Competencies and Professional Proficiencies:
Diversity and Inclusion - Core Competency
Change Management - Core Competency