Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Scholars' Corner

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Scholars' Corner

Article excerpt

First-generation college students represent nearly 33 percent of today's college student population in the United States, many of which are Latina/o. When researching college access arid attainment of students of color in college and graduate programs, I found that mentors, supportive educators such as counselors, professors or outreach programs, and college-going peers were critical in the educational succcss of first-generation college students.

As we make our way through (lie educational pipeline, these key agents become even more critical as 111 ere are less people who look like us or have had the same experiences as us. For first-generation college students in doctoral programs, especially aspiring professors, having a supportive network of scholars (e.g., doctoral students, professors, educators, mentors) is essential for success. The American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Graduate Student Fellows program is one of the critical agents for many Latina/o scholars. The relationships and connections graduate fellows build during this program with other Latina/o scholars is invaluable. We gain additional strength, motivation, direction, and empathy from scholars who share similar life experiences.

Unlike academia, AAHHE views our culture, family expectations, growing up in poverty, or being the first-in- family to pursue a college education as the foundation to our strength and motivation to pursue doctoral studies, not as deficiencies. …

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