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A Glimpse into First-Generation Dragons

by Rebecca Kielbasa

first-generation dragon quote with diamondFirst-Generation Dragons is a student organization on campus, founded by Profesor Kylie Stocker in January 2021 to celebrate and recognize first-generation college students.

The group was inspired by Stocker’s passion for ensuring students know they are supported, “I was reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming over my winter break in December 2020. She talked a lot about being a first-generation college student and how Princeton provided her with a lot of support. Research has shown that if first-generation college students do not have support, they will drop out or transfer. I wanted to make sure my students know they have support and have a group they can go to with questions.”

From time management workshops to general group meetings, the group strives to create a network for these first-generation students. “We are hoping to make a difference in the lives of TU students by supporting them. We hope to help retain our first-generation students for the entirety of their collegiate careers here at Tiffin University,” Stocker says.

Upcoming on Monday, November 8th, they will be celebrating National First-Generation College Student Day. The First-Generation Dragons will host a panel of alumni and faculty members to share their experiences as first-generation students, as well as a photobooth and an all-day scholarship campaign to support incoming first-generation, first-year students for fall 2022. Donations for this scholarship campaign are accepted here.

The group showcases a few first-generation students, staff and faculty every month in a newsletter to share advice, motivations, accomplishments and individual stories. Most recently, the group interviewed the following first-generation dragons:

  • Dr. Julia Porter, Project Manager for CCU and Ph.D. Program Coordinator at TU
  • Alumni Autumn Cooper, Assistant Branch Manager at Peoples Bank
  • Alumni Kyle Johnson, Senior Information Security Consultant at FireEye
  • Alumni Pedro Correa III, Student and ChampionX – Field Operations Manager

The group has developed a Google Drive with resources for first-generation college students that can be found here.

First-Generation Dragons are also collecting stories to use in their monthly newsletter. If you are a student, alumni, faculty, or staff member here at TU and you identify as a first-generation college student (neither your parents nor guardians have received a four-year degree), please consider sharing your story here.