Colorado State University is the first university in the country to identify first generation, low-income students and provide scholarships designed to pay for tuition and student fees. CSU created its First Generation Award program in 1984. First Generation status is defined as students whose parents did not complete a bachelor’s degree or higher. Since 1984, CSU has continued to provide not only scholarships but also create a community of support for these students.
Dozens of first generation members make up the faculty and staff in the College of Engineering and are naturally prepared and particularly willing to share their experiences and relate to the obstacles first generation students face.
As part of its commitment to student success, the SBME plans to grow assistance and programs for First Generation Students. The SBME began to address issues by providing underrepresented students an opportunity to mingle one-on-one with faculty at the inaugural SBME First Generation Dinner in February 2014. As a result of this inaugural event, at least four students secured positions in prominent biomedical engineering laboratories across campus and conducted important biomedical engineering research in addition to strengthening their academic experience.
Krystal Tamayo attended the event and shared that “It was at this dinner that I was fortunate enough to be offered a position for which I am so grateful. Because I was invited to the SBME First Generation Dinner, I can now say that I will be building my work experience as an engineer through the internship I have this summer. If it hadn’t been for your invitation, this never would have happened.”
On January 30, 2018, the SBME held its 5th Annual First-Generation Dinner. This year’s event attracted over 30 students and 15 faculty and staff members. Faculty and staff sat with students and shared their first-generation experiences. Students were given an opportunity to share their challenges and struggles. Students walked away knowing that they have a large support group of professionals who are available to answer questions, provide encouragement in challenging times, or serve as a resource.