Utah Tech first-generation program selected to participate in national network – St. George News


Utah Tech first-generation student services coordinator Marisa Tyne with recent graduate Kailyn Beams in St. George, Utah June 15, 2023 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

ST. george – Utah Tech University’s first-generation college student program has been selected as a national body First Scholars Network For the 2023-24 school year.

Marisa Thain, Utah Tech’s coordinator of first-generation student services, said it is an honor to be selected and the department is committed to helping current and future first-generation students succeed in their college experiences.

Marisa Thain, Utah Tech’s first-generation student services coordinator, said it is an honor to be selected as part of the national First Scholars Network for the 2023-24 school year. Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

“Thirty percent of our campus is first-generation students. And that means neither parent nor guardian has a four-year degree. That’s how he’s defined as a first-generation student,” Thain told the St. George News. “Being part of this first network of scholars will be a huge milestone for our campus. It puts us in a community full of like-minded individuals, building professional development, building additional programs and connecting with resources to build that program for students on our campus.

Utah Tech University is one of 76 institutions nationwide. First Generation Student Success Center included in First Scholars Network. The group is an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the Suder Foundation. This is the first time Utah Tech has received the award.

The first uses a network of scholars A four-pronged approach to empowering higher education institutions to enhance student success by building communities, resource expertise, and peer networks. More than 350 institutions representing 49 states and the District of Columbia have joined the network, according to a news release.

Thain said First-Generation Student Services helps students understand the educational process and focuses on the unique needs of first-generation students. Students receive academic coaching, mentoring, and assistance in exploring higher education programs, scholarships, and leadership opportunities. In addition, the center helps provide students with basic needs such as their food pantry. The only requirement is to be a. A student enrolled on campus.

Kailyn Beams is the first person in her family to attend college and uses the center at Utah Tech University in St. George, Utah, June 15, 2023. Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

“That’s all we have right now. Little things can happen to students, like a car wreck or something,” Thain said. “They can be fine for a while. And then they have this problem. We see students for a month and then we don’t see them again.”

They also have many students. Funding requests; Thain says this is often a major obstacle for students.

“The financial aid FAFSA application is a beast; it’s really hard to get through. So we help students with that, scholarship applications and mentoring,” Thain said. “We also do academic success, so when they’re struggling, we put a plan in place to help students get back on track and succeed.”

First-generation student Kailyn Beams used the center’s services while attending the university. She comes from a small country town in Utah.

“I’m from the Delta and my family has a farm, so I spent a lot of time on that growing up,” Beams said. “None of my family members went to college or anything. My parents had a very young child.

Beams said the Utah Tech program provided her with many resources, such as counseling through career services. She recently graduated from Utah Tech University with a degree in biomedical science and minors in health, psychology and chemistry. Rays also teaches a biology lab class at the St. George campus.

Marisa Tyne, a first-generation student services coordinator, in the food pantry at Utah Tech University, St. George, Utah, June 15, 2023 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

“I definitely feel like the program has given me that because I’m applying for graduate school. It gave me resources to talk to people about business processes,” Beams said. And how to talk to people and what to do, what not to do and who to reach and communication opportunities.

They are trying to build mentorships and internships in the community, he said.

“We love partnering with our community members and helping our students enhance their experience so we’ve got those resume builders to help connect them to the right job when they graduate,” Thain said. “If you’re interested in working with us, reach out to us anytime. We’re always interested in creating new relationships and building those pathways for students.”

Kyle Nixon, the center’s director of network expansion and operations, explained to St. George News the process by which Utah Tech University was selected to participate in the First Scholars Network.

“We work with each institution individually to identify some of their pressure points, some of their barriers, some of their unique challenges and opportunities,” Nixon said.

To be selected for the program, a school must use a project management platform called Basecamp for assignments, monthly meetings to discuss issues related to first-generation college students. Participants can highlight certain programs and ask questions to others.

Nixon said. Utah Tech University staff can interact with other institutions through professional development, goal setting, blog development and annual reporting.

First Generation Student Services Coordinator Marisa Tyne at Utah Tech’s food pantry supported by local donations, St. George, Utah, June 15, 2023 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

There are several levels of network membership. After a school moves to a secondary, first-generation future, it is eligible to become a first-scholarship institution.

This third chapter presents the center’s customized approach to intentional institutional change to improve student outcomes. Finally, all network institutions strive for national leadership as First Scholars Champion Campuses.

“We also work deeply with the institutions’ research offices to tap into the data specifically for those institutions. This is a multi-year commitment,” Nixon said. They are known.

According to a news release, NASPA is a member-based association that supports a diverse network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions worldwide. They are a network of colleges and universities representing all sectors of higher education working with their institutional members to promote student success.

“Being named a member of the First Scholars Network is an exciting opportunity for Utah Tech University to join a community of professionals dedicated to sharing evidence-based practices and resources, solving challenges, generating knowledge, and advancing First Scholars’ success. Dr. Kevin Krueger, president and CEO of NASPA, from across the country Alumni-Generation. “We are excited to see a boost in activity from the Class of 2023 network members and know that Utah Tech will make a significant contribution.”

The first-generation office is in the university. Student Resource Center, Located in the Browning Learning Center on the St. George campus. Visit the First Generation Student Success Center to learn more firstgen.naspa.org.

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Copyright Saint George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.


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