The mission of WPI’s program is to optimize access to campus resources and support for first-year students who identify as first generation. The program is designed to foster student’s personal, academic, and professional development at WPI through programming, mentorship, and a residential community. 

WPI is committed to providing support for First Generation students.  The Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Division of Enrollment Management, the Division of Talent & Inclusion, and the Division of Student Affairs aim to provide informative events and support for First Generation community members.

Have questions about anything?  Email firstgeneration@wpi.edu

 

What does First Generation mean to WPI?
First Generation is any student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a 4-year (Bachelor’s) degree in the United States.

Get Started at WPI

Welcome to WPI!  You may be the first in your family to attend — and graduate — from a four-year college or university, but you’re not alone. In fact, hundreds of students, staff, and faculty members are or were first-generation students! The WPI First Generation Success Program is here to help you get connected to other first-generation students, as well as the academic and social resources you need to help you achieve your goals.

In addition to one-on-one support and advising, first gen centered programming such as networking events, movies, dinners, panels, and First Friday events are all available for students to take advantage of.  Below are a number of resources to look into for information to answer questions you may have.

Did You Know?

Famous Firsts to Attend College

  • Oprah Winfrey, American television host, actress, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur
  • Michelle Obama, former first lady
  • Colin Powell, first African-American Secretary of State
  • Howard Schultz, former CEO and chairman of Starbucks
  • Viola Davis, actress
  • Barney Frank, former U.S. Congressman and first openly gay member of Congress 

Get Involved!

WPI offers over 250 different clubs and organizations for you to get involved in a passion area.  If you can't find what you are looking for?  Help to start a club or organization on campus!

Getting involved in an extracurricular activity helps you to meet new people, share your talents and interests, and even discover a newfound passion you may never have found before.

For Students

Words to Know

Sometimes it seems like college has its own language. To get an understanding of the linguistics of higher education, you can check out this useful Higher Education Glossary created by U.S. News and World Report.

Innovations Residential Community

The mission of WPI’s Innovations Residential Community (RC) is to optimize access to campus resources and support for students who identify as first generation and to foster their personal, academic, and professional development at WPI.  Go to the Innovations webpage to learn more.

Recommendations for First-Generation College Students

  • Get support.

    First-generation students are more likely to live off-campus, work while taking classes, and be enrolled part-time than their non first-generation counterparts. By becoming involved on campus, you may receive the support you need and begin to feel more integrated with other college students. Join groups, organizations, or support groups that are of interest to you. Also, talk with people you trust, perhaps your families and friends, about what you are experiencing as you adjust to college and a new environment.

  • Communicate about what you are experiencing.

    In times of transition, it can be helpful for individuals to communicate what they are experiencing and what they need from one another. As you grow and develop, you may begin to feel different from your family and peers. This is a natural process for all college students, and it can be helpful to share your experiences with each other.

  • Use resources.

    Take advantage of mentoring programs as well as the variety of offices and programs designed to assist you. WPI has offices for underrepresented students, advising programs, tutoring programs, financial aid programs, and the counseling centers. These services can help you navigate the college terrain as well as feel understood and connected. You can also benefit from getting to know an upper-level student who can show you the ropes. Finding a first-generation college student who has already been there a few years can be especially helpful as he or she can share tips on how to deal with the first year of college.  We have some upper-level mentors to assist!

  • Maintain a balance.

    You do have a lot to juggle! With the demands of academics, work, family, and a social life, it is important that you find a way to balance competing needs. Time management is essential, and having a schedule can help you manage those competing interests and demands. Remember that the perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness, and hard work that helped you get in to college will also help keep you here.

First Gen Student Mentors

Sadie Dominguez

Major: Management Information Systems
Class Year: 2021
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
Hometown: Oakland, CA

Campus Involvement:​

  • Greek Life
  • Resident Advisor
  • Volunteer with Girls Who Code
  • Member of Alpha Phi Omega
  • Public Relations Chair for the Alliance

Ani Navarro Aguayo

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Class Year: 2022
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Asuncion, Paraguay

Campus Involvement:​

  • Member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Resident Advisor
  • Vice President for the Global Humanitarian Alliance
  • 3D Printer Chief in a research project on campus

Marisol Sanchez

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Class Year: 2021
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Campus Involvement:​

  • Student Government Association Senator
  • Vice President of Art and Design Club
  • Psychology Lab Research Assistant

Tarik Ourdyl

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Class Year: 2022
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Hometown: North Reading, MA

Campus Involvement:​

  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Colleges Against Cancer
  • Red Pine Cohort

Kyla Egenberger

Major: Biomedical Engineering/Pre-Medical
Class Year: 2021
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Waterbury, CT

Campus Involvement:​

  • Club Tennis
  • National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • Resident Advisor
  • Home Events Staff

Kaelyn Hicks

Major: Industrial Engineering
Class Year: 2022
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Detroit, MI

Campus Involvement:​

  • Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
  • Formula SAE
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • Black Student Union

Sreesh Chuke

Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Class Year: 2021
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Arlington, MA

Campus Involvement:​

  • Research Assistant for Professor Wyglinski
  • ASSISTments Content Creator
  • South Asian Student Association
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Women in Electrical and Computer Engineering