First-generation scholars rise

Two floors in Blackstone Hall will integrate a total of 30 first-generation students beginning in fall 2016.
John Patrick Uy

As the number of first-generation college students rise around the nation, 30 incoming first-generation students will be living on one male floor and one female floor in Blackstone Hall.

The scholarship program is to launch this summer, partnering with housing services to support the underrepresented group on campus.

first in the family

Tamra Malone, director of multi-ethnic programs and development and Carrie Stockton, dean of student success enrollment management are part of the original task force which initiated the first-generation program. Meleca Consultado, resident director of Blackstone, was asked to be a part of the team for the on-campus living component.

Students who are the first in the family to go to college are considered first-generation scholars, Consultado said.

“If a student had a parent who went for a year but didn’t complete it, [the student] would be considered a first-generation college student,” Consultado said.  

Students had to identify as a first-generation college student and apply for a three-week bridge program during the summer. The program will be hosted by Biola’s diversity initiatives, student success and other departments, which includes resource training, connections with faculty and staff members and informational events for their parents.

“They will actually live on-campus, in Blackstone even if they’re not going to live [in Blackstone] the whole year,” Consultado said.

assimilate and build an understanding

The students, even if they plan on commuting during the school year, are asked to stay on-campus those three weeks during the summer so they have the opportunity to assimilate and build an understanding of Biola’s resources. Over a hundred applications from incoming students were received and only 30 applicants, ideally 15 males and 15 females, will be chosen to be a part of the program.

During the school year, the students will attend a first year seminar course, which will address college success skills and other resources for students. There will also be other programs and events throughout the year for all students on campus.

“[First-generation scholars] have done so much work to get here, but if we can help maybe remove some of the barriers that might impede from their success we would like to think about those,” Consultado said.

sharing the space

Sophomore business major Luke Singleton feels that since there is so much room on his floor, it would be good to have more students sharing the space.

“There’s a lot of room so only fifteen is not much. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Singleton said. “I think it’s good that [Biola is] doing that.”

Freshman political science major Rebekah Diller is a first-generation scholar herself and believes the floor would present an opportunity to allow first-generation students to bond and experience college together without feeling alone.

“Just knowing that you’re not the odd one out, not making the assumption that you know everyone who’s in their immediate circle as past generations have graduated from college [is a relief,]” Diller said.

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First-generation scholars rise