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Ambassadors for Change

Understanding and supporting first-generation students

Project Leader: Kathryn Williamson
Department/Unit: Faculty-student collaboration in WVU Honors College

Students in the HONR 293, Ambassadors for Change, course hosted a virtual Campus Conversation-style event to promote awareness of first-generation college student experiences. The project also generated information and resources to support the WVU First-Generation Initiatives website and materials. The course and project were part of a collaboration with the First2 Network, which seeks to improve STEM persistence among rural, first-generation, and other underrepresented college students in West Virginia.

As a result of the grant, students in enrolled in the course taught by Dr. Kathryn Williamson, with additional support from Dr. Michelle Richards-Babb, transformed the conversation about supporting and empowering first-generation college students. In addition to the virtual conversation event, the group created a social media campaign, connected the West Virginia Teacher of the Year with students as a role model, generated a network of mentors to offer support to future first-generation students, drafted brochures and materials for distribution at WVU events, recorded podcasts of first-gen students’ stories that can be featured and promoted on a variety of platforms, offered content ideas and suggestions for WVU’s FirstGen website, and wrote op-eds in local newspapers, including the Dominion Post and the Charleston Gazette. All artifacts can be found at