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Greer Scholars

According to the U.S. Department of Education, first-generation college students are undergraduates whose parents never enrolled in college or postsecondary education. But at UIC Engineering, we recognize that this definition does not fully capture the diverse backgrounds and experiences of first-generation college students, their parents, and their families. Therefore, first-generation college students may include students:

  • whose parents may have enrolled in college courses and have yet to attain a degree, or earned a degree in a different country, and/or
  • have family members who earned a degree from a university.

So, regardless of this shifting definition, we acknowledge that first-generation students are a diverse population that significantly contributes to academic spaces, our society, and beyond.

Although first-generation college students are highly motivated and eager to succeed, we also understand that due to their intersectional identities, there are unique challenges they may encounter. But through EIEP FIRST GEN, we aim to address these issues while building community and a support system for students.

Informed by research and through an asset-based lens, we enable first-gen engineering students to succeed by providing:

  • opportunities to connect with UIC Engineering faculty outside of the classroom;
  • EIEP FIRST-GEN Dialogue Days to discuss relevant topics like balancing family expectations with college and career goals;
  • community-building activities to connect with other EIEP FIRST-GEN students; and
  • career and professional development opportunities.