Webinar: Supporting First-Generation College Students Through a Pandemic (Trellis Company)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

1:00-2:00 p.m. Central

Transition from high school to college is a well-documented phenomenon and important milestone for students entering the world of higher education. First-generation college students leverage various forms of capital to overcome several hurdles during this transition and throughout their educational journeys. Similarly, students who self-identify as people of color, queer, immigrant, from limited income background, and with other marginalized identities may also encounter intersectional realities that many institutions of higher education are often ill-equipped to address. This webinar will highlight the experiences and challenges of first-generation college students, which are expected to be exacerbated due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Through this interactive webinar, attendees will:

  • explore dominant/false narratives about first-generation students;
  • employ asset-based frameworks (rather than deficit-based) to develop first-gen programming; and
  • learn how college faculty, staff, and administrators can foster first-generation students’ success during and after COVID-19.


photo of Dr. La'Tonya Rease Miles

Dr. La'Tonya Rease Miles

Executive Director of First Year Experience @University of California, Los Angeles

La'Tonya "LT" Rease Miles is the Executive Director of First Year Experience at UCLA, where she works collaboratively with Residential Life, Student Affairs departments more generally and academic departments campus-wide to develop initiatives and to increase awareness of the first-year experience on campus. Dr. Miles has established two successful programs for first-generation college students—one at UCLA and the other at Loyola Marymount University—both recognized for national Best Practices. 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."

photo of Dr. Vijay Kanagala

Dr. Vijay Kanagala

Associate Professor of Secondary and Higher Education and Coordinator of the Higher Education in Student Affairs Program @Salem State University

A former student affairs practitioner with extensive experience in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, Kanagala researches issues related to college access and success of students with marginalized identities (first-generation, limited income, students of color, LGBTQ). He employs contemplative pedagogies and practices to foster student success in the classroom. Kanagala has successfully secured nearly $4 million for four major educational research projects. As an educational researcher, Kanagala advocates for the use of asset-based frameworks (rather than deficit-based) to ensure that institutions of higher education employ student success frameworks that consider the diverse array of cultural wealth students bring to college. He is a co-author and co-editor of the book, The Latino Student's Guide to STEM Careers, which provides key information for Latinx students to be successful in STEM disciplines.