First Generation Students

First-generation college students are celebrated and embraced at SUNY Geneseo. If you identify as a first-generation student, you should be proud of your accomplishment. And you're not alone! More than a quarter of the students starting at SUNY Geneseo this fall are first-generation students.

Your pursuit of higher education is admirable, and to be the first one in your family to attain a college degree is particularly commendable!

Denise A. Battles, PhD, president and first-generation college graduate

SUNY Geneseo’s first-gen experience is designed to make the college experience inclusive, meaningful, and memorable through supportive networks, the establishment of professional and personal goals, and connections with campus resources and services, including our own faculty and staff, many of whom are first-generation college graduates themselves.

Upcoming Events

📆 Tuesday, December 13, 2022: First-Gen Study Day Grab and Go!

Join us from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. in the MacVittie College Union Hunt Room for study day! First-generation college students are invited to stop by, grab coffee, snacks, energy bars, and more! Recharge your devices, too! 

This event is sponsored by the Summit Federal Credit Union, thanks to Laurie Baker '85, member of the SUNY Geneseo Foundation Board. 

First-Gen Faculty and Staff

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Courtney Havens

Courtney Havens, EOP counselor

"Being a first generation student had several challenges, of which the toughest one I felt was leaving my family home while I went off to college and for them to not fully understand what it meant academically, socially and personally for me to be at a four year residential institution.  Although they couldn't relate, they were supportive of my education and I am forever grateful for that."

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Eric Helms

Eric Helms, associate professor of chemistry

"I felt pretty lost for most of my first semester and did not want to let my family down given how hard they worked to get me there. I was lucky to have a roommate who understood why I did not know much about how to navigate college offices, registration, what to call professors, etc. Together, we managed to survive our first year and after that, it was a lot easier."

alessandra otero ramos

Alessandra Otero Ramos, liaison librarian to arts and humanities

"As everything new in life, to be a latinx-first gen in college can be frightening especially during the first year of college. However, no matter how lost or overwhelmed you can feel about college life, know that the professors, librarians and college staff are here to support you. Just dare to ask or communicate what is your need. In Latin America we say: ‘El que no llora, no mama.’ (The squeaky wheel gets the grease), so dare to ask for help."

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portrait of Amanda Roth

Amanda L Roth, associate professor of philosophy and women's and gender studies, coordinator of WGST

"I was lucky to have very supportive parents who were willing and able to learn a lot about college admissions and financial aid. Arriving at college (a small private liberal arts college with a very hefty price tag, which thanks to generous financial aid my family paid very little of), the biggest shock were some of the displays of wealth by fellow students, which were completely foreign to me."

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Jasmine Tang

Jasmine Tang, lecturer of Chinese

"行行出状元 Hang hang chu zhuangyuan (No matter which job you do, you can achieve.)" 

geography trip to Canada

First-Gen Stories

First Generation Student: Kaaden Sherwood '26

First Generation Student: Wrileigh Bacon '26

The student experience: Study abroad

Scene: Nawang Sherpa

First-Generation Student Syndou Cisse ’22 is Honored with SUNY Award

First-Generation Student Focus

geneseo college union

Helpful Resources

Center for Integrative Learning

The Center for Integrative Learning, located in 217 Erwin Hall, helps students, faculty and staff across all disciplines work towards social impact through a process of integrative inquiry, application of knowledge/skills, and metacognition. 

The Office of Accessibility Services

The Office of Accessibility Services, located in 22 Erwin Hall, supports students with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support aids and services in order to provide equal access to the learning environment. 

The Office of Diversity and Equity

The Office of Diversity and Equity, located in 303 Doty Hall, is committed to sustaining and expanding the diversity of the Geneseo community and to making equity for all members of our diverse community a measure of our success. 

The Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid helps students and families navigate federal and state financial aid at every stage of the process, from application to graduation. Located in 104 Erwin Hall, the office also provides counseling on budgeting, eligibility criteria, financial aid for study abroad, loans, and available aid programs.

Student Health and Counseling

Health and Counseling, located in the Lauderdale Health Center, supports the health and wellbeing of students in a welcoming and safe environment for all students. Services include comprehensive medical treatment and mental health support for all students.

students in class

Get Involved

The programs and experiences below will help you adjust to life at Geneseo and make the most out of your time on campus.

Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development

The Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program provides an extensive series of personal development programs, institutes, leadership certificates, service learning, volunteer work, and active engagement in college and community life. 

Geneseo Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Geneseo Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship allows students to participate in summer research projects with faculty, including grants for research and travel to present at conferences, assistantships, and summer fellowships. 

McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program encourages the pursuit of doctoral study by providing students with opportunities to engage in research-intensive experiences. Students are given mentoring and support throughout their experience, including funding to support student research work. 

Center for Career Design

The Center for Career Design provides students with personalized support to identify skills, values, and interests, as well as the relationship of those skills to various majors and careers. It also assists students with employment or graduate school search and the application process. 

Study Abroad

Study Abroad connects students interested in studying overseas with numerous opportunities around the world. Their offices provide resources, advice, support through the application process, pre-departure orientation, advice and assistance while overseas, and post-return support. For more information, please visit the study abroad website or study abroad's first-gen page.

student expo 2022

External Resources

Center for First-Generation Student Success