Engaging Meaningfully with First-Generation Graduate Students to Increase Retention



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Support your first-generation students through the unique challenges of graduate school. 


While institutions today are getting better at recognizing that first-generation undergraduate students face additional barriers in navigating college, they still often expect first-generation graduate students to know how to overcome those barriers. Yet first-gen graduate students can still experience a variety of unique challenges – both personal and academic – that create additional roadblocks to their success. For instance, many first-gen graduate students may face a lack of understanding from family members while also having to navigate building social capital with faculty in an entirely different way. As graduate enrollment increases, faculty and staff working with graduate students can best support those students by understanding the additional challenges first-gen graduate students face.

Join us for a 90-minute virtual training on what to consider in working with and mentoring first-generation graduate students. Our expert, Dr. Zaragosa “Mito” Diaz-Espinoza, will help you to recognize the struggles faced by first-gen graduate students in navigating such hurdles as a changing family life, the transition to graduate school, resource constraints at institutions, and making academic and professional decisions. You will have time to share what you yourself found challenging during graduate school and reflect on how that might be compounded for first-gen students. You will also learn how to best connect first-gen graduate students to resources and how to mentor them through personal and professional decisions.

Learn to support your first-generation undergraduate students by registering for our virtual conference, Developing a Comprehensive System of Support for First-Generation Students October 19-21, 2022.

Who Should Attend

Faculty, staff, and program directors for graduate programs who mentor graduate students or who are in student-facing roles will benefit most from this program.

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


October 26, 2022

1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET


Navigating New Challenges

Our expert will begin by exploring some of the challenges faced by first-generation graduate students that they may not have had to navigate previously in their undergraduate work. You’ll have the further opportunity to share and reflect on how the struggles you experienced in graduate school might also affect first-generation students. Mito will also share a case study to help you to better understand the life of a first-gen graduate student.



Providing Support

You’ll have the opportunity to brainstorm ways to best support and mentor first-gen graduate students through barriers they face with respect to:

  • Navigating tension between their family life and the transition to graduate school.
  • Accessing necessary resources at their graduate institution.
  • Planning their academic and/or professional career choices.


Professional portrait of Zaragosa “Mito” Diaz-Espinoza

Zaragosa “Mito” Diaz-Espinoza

Compliance and Equity Program Manager, Waco Family Medicine

In his previous role as Case Coordinator in the office of Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX at Baylor University, Mito assisted individuals through the reporting and resolution processes while serving as a support resource. He has worked in various areas of higher education including admissions, academic advising, diversity programs, leadership, and civic engagement. Mito is a dynamic presenter with key experience on topics specific to first-generation college students, from the experiences of Latina/o/x students, to diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, as well as masculinity issues.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


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