Meet a First-Generation Admissions Counselor

Claudia Aviles, Assistant Director of Admissions

As you embark on this exciting, yet overwhelming journey as the first in your family to go to college, please know that you are not alone—especially on the WPI campus and in the Office of Admissions. I am one of six admissions counselors at WPI who are first-generation college students. Like many of you, I am also a first-generation American. The college process was not easy to navigate, but thanks to my college and admissions counselors, it was possible. I am now able to use my personal background and passion to help first-generation college students like you! I am so excited to introduce you to WPI and hopefully welcome you to the community. Please do not hesitate to contact firstgenwpi@wpi.edu if you have any questions or concerns!

–Claudia Aviles

A Community Supporting One Another

Hear from first-generation students attending WPI!

Learn more about why they chose WPI, what they wish they knew, and advice they have for high school students.

What is it like to be a first-generation student at WPI?

Resources for High School Students

We created a college checklist just for you! Follow these tips to ensure your path to success.

Resources at WPI

  • Connections Program: a comprehensive network of support services that target underrepresented students of color and first-generation college students
  • Insight Program: During New Student Orientation and through your first two terms at WPI, you will be part of a group of students and advisors dedicated to assisting you with your transition to college, both personally and academically, and helping you make the most out of your first year at WPI
  • The OASIS Cultural Center
  • MASH Tutoring Center

First-Gen Students - Where Are They Now?

Antoine Crews

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Current Employer: Pratt & Whitney, Mechanical Engineer-Design.  I love that I use technical information learned in the classroom to create real-world products.

Why WPI? I chose WPI because of the projects that could elevate my professional career. During my tenor at WPI, I got the chance to travel and work with incredible professors. 

Mona Yuan

Hometown: Milton, Massachusetts

Major: Industrial Engineering    Minor: Economics

Current Employer: Wellington Management, Technology Associate.

Why WPI? My decision to come to WPI was driven by three factors: the project-focused curriculum, the variety of opportunities to practice what is taught in the classroom, and the collaborative environment among faculty and students. One of my most memorable projects was working with the Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute to develop a simulation model to help improve patient flow and resource usage. This project allowed me to apply the simulation modeling knowledge that I was learning in a class to a real-world problem.

Kenuel Lopez-Rivera

Hometown: Central Falls, Rhode Island

Major: Civil Engineering

Current Employer: Turner Construction, Field Engineer. My company is currently working on the expansion to Terminal B at Logan Airport.

Why WPI? I chose WPI because I felt very comfortable when I came to the open house for admitted students. It felt like home. One of my favorite projects I completed was my Major Qualifying Project, or MQP.  I worked with a group to come up with alternative project management strategies for the renovation of the Boston Children’s Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts. During my time working on the project, I got to work with professional engineers and project managers from Stantec, Suffolk Construction, and the Boston Children’s Hospital. Besides gaining great insight and experience in working with/for such successful companies, we also got to network with people in the industry, which was an invaluable benefit of the project.

WPI Delivers Value for First-Gen Students

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has officially been recognized by ScholarMatch, a San Francisco nonprofit organization whose mission is to make higher education possible for low-income youth, as being one of the standout colleges in the U.S. that are providing excellent support for first-generation and low-income students. Each year, ScholarMatch analyzes 1,400 U.S. colleges and universities using public college data and information from the College Scorecard to determine which schools offer the most supportive environments for students whose families earn less than $50,000 per year.

Strive for College partner since 2011

WPI is engaged in a partnership with nonprofit Strive for College in a commitment to to enrolling, graduating, and strengthening college opportunities for low-income, first-generation college students. Strive and WPI promote college opportunities and work to lower the first-gen college dropout rate through an online mentoring program and college matching tools.