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Focus on First-Generation Symposium

Register for the Focus on First-Generation Symposium

This symposium is free to attend.

The 2024 Focus on First-Generation Symposium will be held Friday, March 15, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the Ernest F. Hollings Library Program Room,  Thomas Cooper Library.

This symposium provides an opportunity for faculty,  staff,  and graduate assistants to explore how to cultivate academic success and foster well-being and a sense of belonging among USC’s first-generation students.

Symposium Agenda

Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker for the symposium is Darris R. Means Ph.D., Associate Professor of Higher Education and Dean’s Faculty Scholar in Equity, Justice, and Rural Education in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Dr. Means served on a program team to create and implement Elon University’s Elon Academy, a year-round college access and success program for high school and college students with a financial need and/or no family history of college. Dr. Means served as the Assistant Director and then Associate Director for the Elon Academy, working with students and their families on pathways to and through postsecondary education.

First-Generation Student Panel

Join us for an insightful and engaging first-generation student panel discussion aimed at providing valuable insights and perspectives. This panel offers a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the student experience directly from the voices of our diverse student body. Our panelists, representing various academic disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences, will share their personal journeys, challenges, successes, and perspectives on campus life, academics, and student support services. 

Lightning Round Sessions

Lightning round presentations will showcase USC research focused on first-generation students.  The lightning round format allows for concise yet impactful presentations, providing attendees with a diverse array of insights and findings related to this important topic. Presenters will share their research findings, methodologies, and implications for practice, shedding light on various aspects of the first-generation student experience. 


The symposium is co-sponsored by  Aramark, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Graduation and Retention Network (GARNET), the Office of Access and Opportunity, TRIO Programs, and University Libraries.

Register for the Focus on First-Generation Symposium

This symposium is free to attend.

Symposium Agenda 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.