First-Generation Student Taskforce

First-Generation Student Task Force (last updated 05/26/23) 

First-generation college students have a significant presence on Mason’s campus. While there are many programs and services that are geared to supporting our first-generation students, there remains an opportunity to integrate them into a cohesive structure with campus-wide oversight and support.  

Established in 2020 and convened by Vanessa Correa, the First-Generation Task Force is co-chaired by Amber Holton-Thomas, Director of the First-Gen+ Center; Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon, Director of Educational and Career Pathways for the College of Science; and Khaseem Davis, Director of the Early Identification Program. The task force is charged with reviewing the following, and determining if any changes or additions are needed to strengthen Mason’s commitment to supporting first-generation college students, and to facilitating their comprehensive success. 

  • Programs, services, initiatives at Mason to serve the interests of first-generation students including measuring and increasing their effectiveness  
  • The “lifecycle” of first-generation students throughout their entire Mason experience (from recruitment and matriculation to graduation). This includes examining gateways and barriers to degree completion. 
  • Strategies for enhancing our relationships with community partners (e.g. community colleges, K-12 school systems, non-profits) in Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region to increase access and, subsequently enrollment for first-generation students 
  • Exemplary “best practices” among other colleges including our peer and aspirational institutions, as well as professional associations that we might adopt to enhance the experience, increase degree completion, and promote career readiness among first-generation college students  
  • Other emerging trends in the discussions about First-generation college students that should be addressed and the additional support the university can provide so that first-generation college students are successful 

 First-Generation Student Roundtable 

As a part of the First-Generation Student Task Force and led by Nakia Waters, Assistant Director in the First-Gen+ Center, this roundtable promotes the exchange of ideas between campus stakeholders including faculty, staff, and students. Taking place 1-2 times per semester, each roundtable focuses on a specific theme or topic relevant to first-generation students and includes updates about first-gen initiatives on campus. Guest speakers may be invited to share their insights and expertise as it relates to first-generation student success. Campus partners are also invited to share updates from their respective areas.  

To be included on the First-Generation Student Roundtable listserv please email using the subject line “Roundtable”