“Supporting first-gen is not just following a trend, it’s filling the gap.” – Dr. Eve
For first-generation college students, their navigation and challenges don’t stop with graduation – it carries on in their graduate school and professional lives. In November 2020, a group of scholars, educators, and advocates shared their stories as first-gen students and graduate students. They further explored how intersectionalities showed up in first-generation students’ professional career and postgraduate life, as well as success in using digital space to raise awareness, build communities, and extend student support.
About Higher Ed Digital Community Builders
Organized by Dr. Josie Ahlquist, this Facebook group is a clubhouse for higher education professionals to connect, reimagine and transform how we build genuine campus digital communities and strategic online engagement experiences. Every week, community members share resources, discussions, and opportunities to further develop digital communities that serve our students, families, and partners in timely, innovative, and supportive ways.
Highlighted Content from Panelists
Links to what was mentioned during the panel (Click on the Image for Links).
[1:10] When did you realize that you are a first-gen college student?
[12:00] What is it like to start a digital community at different institutions?
[19:50] What’s the origin of First-Gen Docs, what’s unique about being a first-gen doc or graduate student?
[28:00] How do you build a community on Twitter as a platform?
[29:40] Out of all the platforms out there, why did you or should you start a podcast?
[38:16] Since remote learning due to COVID-19, what have you noticed that are different for your engagement and content?
[45:55] When people are building communities for first-gen college students, what do you think they should take into consideration?
[51:00] Where do you draw your resources and inspiration on your platforms? What keeps you going when it comes to social media space?
Additional Resources from Josie
- Dr. Josie Ahlquist’s book Digital Leadership In Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World
- Digital Community Building Cohort: Summer 2021 (Sign Up Today!)
- Podcast with La’Tonya “L.T.” Rease Miles: Empowering First-Generation Students
- Podcast with Terisa Riley: From First Gen to First Fem
- How COVID is Redefining Higher Ed, Tech & Leadership
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From speaking, workshops, coaching and consulting, Josie has transformed her services that can be delivered 100% remotely.
Lamesha C. Brown Ph.D., Director of Advising, Testing & Career Services at St. Cloud Technical & Community College
Dr. Brown leads the Academic Advising Center team. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Merchandising from Washington State University, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia. Her background includes housing, student success, first-year experience, and advising. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a central focus for Dr. Brown. She believes that every student has the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in college and that her job is to focus on students and connect them to resources that will aid them in their success. Dr. Brown loves to bake; travel; and spend time with her partner, family, and friends.
Evingerlean D. B. Hudson, Ph.D., Founder & Chief Strategist at The First-Gen Lounge
Evingerlean D. B. Hudson, Ph.D., affectionately known as Dr. Eve, is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and a first-generation college graduate who earned a Ph.D. at the age of 28. After years of service in postsecondary education, she decided to switch gears and started her social entrepreneurial journey.
Dr. Eve is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Evingerlean Worldwide–an entity created to help first-generation college students and graduates thrive through personal transformation and entrepreneurial development. As an empowerment speaker and author, Dr. Eve has touched thousands of lives across the world. Further, she leads The First-Gen Lounge, an international podcast, that has tens of thousands of downloads and has reached more than 80 countries. Dr. Eve holds degrees from Shaw University (the oldest HBCU in the South) and The University of Southern Mississippi–holding membership in both alumni associations. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and serves on the steering committee for The Black First-Gen Collective. In her spare time, Dr. Eve enjoys mentoring, reading, traveling, food tasting, cuddling with her chocolate lab (Maxwell Alexander), and adventures with her life partner, Dr. James M. Hudson
Symone Morales, Associate Dean & Director of First-Generation and/or Low-Income Programs Office at Stanford University
Symone is the new Associate Dean & Director of the FLI Office, having started in Spring 2020. She received her BA in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree in Student Affairs from UCLA.
Before coming to Stanford, she served as the inaugural Senior Coordinator for First-Generation Campus-Wide Initiatives at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has designed and directed initiatives including course creation, alumni relations, and faculty advising. Under her vision and leadership, UCLA was named an Advisory Institution in the inaugural First-Gen Forward cohort of NASPA’ s Center for First Generation Success.
La’Tonya “L.T.” Rease Miles, Dean of Student Affairs at Menlo College
La’Tonya “LT” Rease Miles is the Dean of Student Affairs at Menlo College, where she leads, manages, and assesses all areas within Student Affairs, including budget and operational oversight. Dr. Rease Miles most recently served as the Executive Director of First-Year Experience and Strategic Initiatives at UCLA. Prior to her work at UCLA, she was the Director of the Academic Resource Center at Loyola Marymount University.
Dr. Rease Miles earned her Ph.D. in American Literature from UCLA and is nationally recognized as an expert on first-generation students and their first-year experience in higher education. She regularly consults with institutions nationally concerning first-gen students and also has advised local high schools (including Loyola High School and Verbum Dei High School) about developing programs on their campus. Finally, she established and manages a national Facebook group, “Empowering First-Generation Students.”
About Josie, Community Founder
Dr. Josie Ahlquist is a digital engagement and leadership researcher, speaker, and consultant. She teaches teens, young adults, education professionals, and campus executives how to humanize technology tools and prioritize building community online.
Josie absolutely loves fostering and educating about digital community building. So, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she created a Facebook group called the Higher Ed Digital Community Builders, which has grown to nearly 2,000 members. She also created and manages the Digital Community Building Cohort, a mastermind educational program for higher education social media managers to improve online community building strategies.
As a researcher and writer, Josie is extensively published and maintains an active blog and podcast, which have received accolades from EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her new book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World was listed as an Amazon #1 new release for college and university student life.
She also serves as a teaching faculty at Florida State University, creating curriculum to build digital literacy and leadership skills for undergraduates up to doctorate level students. Josie received her doctorate from California Lutheran University in Higher Education Leadership, Masters in Education from Northern Arizona University. She majored in sociology and human development at South Dakota State University.