The College marks the First-Generation College Celebration on Nov. 8, a day celebrated nationwide to honor students who are the first in their families to go to college. Today is a day that the College not only celebrates its first generation college students, but also the parents, guardians, teachers, mentors, counselors and more who inspire first generation students to make the leap to college.
At Union, roughly 25 percent of those enrolled are first generation college students. In 2019, Union founded the Bridges First-Gen Program, an innovative one-on-one mentoring program to ensure the success of first-generation college students at Union. First generation students are matched with faculty and staff mentors who themselves were also first gen.
Meet some of Union’s first generation students and who inspired them to go to college:
Maeve Daby ’23
Sociology and Spanish and Hispanic Studies double major with a Philosophy minor
Hometown: Lake Placid, N.Y.
Activities: Honor Council Chair, Sociology newsletter editor-in-chief, Kenney Community Center volunteer, Union College Ambassadors program, AOP/HEOP Sociology tutor
Faculty/staff first gen mentor: Amanda Iverson, director of Residential Life
Who inspired you to go to college?: My parents have always encouraged me to do anything I wish, and supported my journey in college as an opportunity to gain access to better job opportunities and continue my pursuit of knowledge. My boyfriend has also been very supportive of this journey - in fact they have done such a great job inspiring my love of education that I am graduating a term early!
Brandon Mitchell ’23
Neuroscience major with English minor
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Activities: Academic Opportunity Program, Black Student Union, Football team, Student Forum, Omicron Delta Kappa Society
Faculty/staff first gen mentor: Dru Alvez, chief diversity officer and director of Intercultural Affairs
Who inspired you to go to college? My whole family has really inspired me, but mostly my grandparents. My grandparents and parents were immigrants from Jamaica and Colombia in hope to have success for the families and future. After hearing their experiences being here, I somewhat internalized the vast decisions they had to make and helped push me to go to college.
Glory Moncion Allen ’24
Sociology major and Psychology minor
Hometown: Yonkers, NY
Activities: Track and Field Varsity Team, My Sister's Keeper, Leadership Pre-Orientation, Spring Fest Committee, Writing Center, STEP, Sociology Club, ESL Tutor
Faculty/staff first gen mentor: Amanda Tommell-Sandy, assistant director for health promotion at the counseling center
Who inspired you to go to college? My mom is my biggest inspiration, not only for college, but for my entire life. My mother wasn't able to get a college degree and start a career that she dreamt of. Even still, she makes it her priority to put me in the right direction to succeed and live a better life than she ever did. I truly admire my mother's determination to make sure I have an amazing life, and I will do everything I can in order to make her proud.
Jocelyn Poste ’23
Anthropology and Biology interdepartmental major and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Minor
Hometown: Chelsea, Mass.
Activities: Residential Advisor, Intercultural Advocate, PR Chair for Latinx Dance Club and African Dance Club
Faculty/staff first gen mentor: Jenn Lykins, deputy Title IX coordinator and equal opportunity investigator
Who inspired you to go to college? My parents
Noah Rivet ’26
Mechanical Engineering major with an Economics minor
Hometown: New Bedford, Massachusetts
Activities: Men's Club Soccer, Intramural basketball
Faculty/staff first gen mentor: Ryan Keytack, interim vice president of Student Affairs
Who inspired you to go to college? My Mom and Dad. They pushed me to pursue higher education and challenge myself. They see how college is able to help with a job and how it is needed to become an engineer and helped me along the application process.
Miriam Rojo Gutierrez ’25
Psychology major with a French minor
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Activities: Office of Intercultural Affairs (OIA), Latin American Student Organization, LatinX Dance Club
Faculty/staff first gen mentor: Christen Gowan, director of digital and content strategy
Who inspired you to go to college? My parents are the people who inspired me to come to college. I say this because both my parents didn’t have the opportunity to go but always wished to. Therefore, they raised me and siblings to achieve the things we want in life. I hope one day I can make them proud and give them what they deserve.