First-generation means many things to the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State. Traditionally, first-generation means students who are the first in their families to attend and complete an undergraduate degree. But at the Kremen School, it doesn’t end there.

First-generation means a student may be the first in the family to enroll in a graduate or doctoral program. Or a student may be the first in the family to become a teacher, counselor or educational leader.

The Kremen School believes first-generation students at all levels deserve support and the opportunity to have a mentor who has been through similar circumstances.

That is why Dr. Laura Alamillo, interim dean of the Kremen School launched the First-Generation Matters mentorship program.

This program connects first-generation students to first-generation faculty and staff mentors. Students receive the opportunity to build connections with faculty and staff who have been in their shoes and understand some of the hurdles first-generation students go through.

Mentors help guide students to see the different pathways they can take in their education and career. They also support students through professional development, and assist them with any challenges they may have.

The First-Generation Matters mentorship program hosted its first event on Aug. 31 with a handful of mentors who shared their inspiring stories with nearly 70 first-generation students. Some shared how they migrated to the United States and others shared how their families did not understand the path to higher education.

Alamillo has always had a passion for supporting first-generation students. When she realized Fresno State was not offering a first-generation mentorship program, she jumped at the opportunity to start one.

This program is available to Kremen School students but will hopefully grow to provide these relationships and resources to all first-generation Fresno State students.