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First-Generation Faculty and Staff

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Name Job title Unit/Department/School Hometown Undergraduate Institution and Degree  Graduate Institution and Degree If you could share one piece of advice with first-generation students, what would it be?
Aaron Mills Professor A&S Frewsburg, NY Ithaca College, BA Biology Cornell University, MS/PhD Soil Science Being a first-generation college student puts you at no disadvantage. For students whose families represent a long line of university experience, this is still THEIR first time at college. Indeed, you may be at an advantage, because you come without someone else's experiences projected onto you.
Alexandra Hall Assistant Dean of Students Dean of Students Louisa, VA UVA, Psychology (BA) JMU, College Student Personnel Admin (MEd) Celebrate your experiences and background—they are what make you unique, and what brought you here!
Ali Osman Program Coordinator Virginia College Advising Corps South Carolina Winthrop University - Political Science & African American Studies n/a Find your tribe, develop a growth-mindset, and remember that you have something unique to offer the world. 
Amy Boitnott Assistant Professor, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program, coordinator Nursing Nokesville, Virginia James Madison University, BSN Medical College of Virginia, MSN, FNP & University of Virginia, DNP and PNP You belong here!  Being a first-gen likely means you didn't have many of the opportunities & finances as your classmates, but your hard work and perseverance got you here.  You have earned everything, nothing has been given to you and you are making your parents and family so very proud!
Ana Abad-Jorge Program Director of Health Sciences Management and Assistant Professor School of Continuing and Professional Studies Orlando, Florida Rollins College, Winter Park, FL.  Honors Degree in Biology, Minor in Secondary Education University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Masters in Nutrition Science Stay engaged and active within UVA, find your community!
Reach out for support and mentors along the way to help you navigate the challenges.
Anna Cliffe Assistant Professor Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Sheffield, England University of Manchester University of Edinburgh Don't be afraid of who you are. As a first gen student you have so much to offer. Build on your grit and determination. Don't compare yourself to others as everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Ask when you need help and find a mentor.
Andrew Koch Associate Director of Bands Music Dept / A&S Earlysville Western Michigan University University of South Carolina / James Madison University Working hard to achieve your life's goals is intensely self-gratifying, but helping others achieve their goals will give your life purpose and deeply enrich your soul.  Always give back!
Angela Orebaugh Assistant Professor School of Continuing and Professional Studies Harrisonburg James Madison University, Bachelor of Business Administration, Computer Information Systems JMU, MS Computer Science, George Mason University, Ph.D. Information Technology Many of our working, adult students in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies are first-generation students.  I advise our students to identify a mentor, specifically in the student's field of study, for professional and career advice.  But it is equally important for students to network with their peers who share similar challenges to help them navigate the college experience.
Anselmo Canfora Associate Professor and Associate Dean Architecture Charlottesvle VA United States Your confidence will continue to grow by asking questions.  Don't hesitate to ask questions as this will feed your curiosity.  The very act of asking questions will not only help you to better understand your new context, but it will encourage you to immerse yourself in education.
Bob Hirosky Professor Physics Cornwells Heights, PA University of Rochester, BS University of Rochester, PhD Embrace new and challenging experiences, don't be a afraid of making mistakes, keep pushing forward. Find supportive communities and seek out mentors.
Bob Hueckstedt Professor MESALC Galesburg, Illinois Brown Harvard Study study study
Brandi Duncan Associate Director of Strategic Events University Advancement Waynesboro, VA James Madison University, BBA in Marketing University of Virginia, Master of Education (pending 2023) If you could share one piece of advice with first-generation students Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Making new friends, connecting with professors, and getting involved in group activities enrich your experience and set you up for success both in and out of school.
Carolyn Callahan Commonwealth Professor Curry School of Education and Human Development Philmont, NY University of Connecticut University of Connecticut You have earned an opportunity to study about the world in an environment where everyone is pulling for you to succeed, and therefore, willing to offer you whatever support you need.
Chris Doran Communications Manager Student Financial Services Seattle, Washington University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Washington); BA in English Indiana University, Bloomington; MA in English Smile broadly, get out and meet people, even those who look scary, and ask lots of questions. People love to talk about themselves or what they know, and you learn a ton by listening with real interest.  Figure out what you value, and then take what you learn and put it to work for you in pursuit of your goals.
Christy Pratt Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admission/Director of Operations Undergraduate Admission Cumberland, MD Frostburg State University Hood College Don't limit yourself to what's comfortable. The best way to grow is to be outside your comfort zone.
Cindy Kiefer Director of Admission School of Architecture Newport News, VA Christopher Newport University (BSBA) William and Mary (MEd) | VirginiaCommonwealth University (EdD)

If you could share one piece of advice with first-generation students, what would it be? You belong here, and we want you to succeed. Find a faculty or staff member that you trust to help you find the resources you need. Graduation is oh-so-sweet for a first gen student!

Cliff Maxwell General Manager, Global Grounds Office of the Provost New Pine Creek, OR Boise State University, BS Chemistry UVa, Master's and ABD, Anthropology  Find friends who support you for who you are.
Coby Meyers Research Associate Professor Research, Statistics & Evaluation / Curry School of Education and Human Development Cecilia, Kentucky University of Kentucky Vanderbilt University Lean heavily on those people who support you emotionally, spiritually, and/or academically because they know you can succeed when you sometimes might doubt it. Latch onto someone who has succeeded in this journey because it is much easier to follow a path than hack your own.
Daniel J. Cox Professor Psychiatry and Internal Medicine Dayton, Ohio Xavier University University of Louisville Be yourself, don't succumb to feelings of inferiority amongst other students.  You are sufficient unto yourself.
Danielle Dyer Clark Scholars Program, Program Director School of Engineering and Applied Science Raleigh University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, B.A. Sociology University of Pennsylvania, M.S.Ed. Higher Education You are not expected to be perfect in this brand new, unfamiliar space. Own your strengths and ask for help in areas where you need enhancement.

When it's all said it done and you become a first-generation GRADUATE, reach back and help another first-generation student. 

Dave Sauerwein Assistant Dean of Students Office of the Dean of Students Bunker Hill, Illinois University of Denver.  B.A.  Virginia Tech - MA in Education ;   New England College - Ed.D. You belong in higher education as much as anyone else. And remember something Dr. Robert Schultz told me when I was an undergraduate: "The one requirement for illumination is ignorance."  
Dean Allen Dass Professer McIntire Department of Art Hampton, Iowa University of Northern Iowa, BA 1978 Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia Be amazed. Wonder about everything. Go to your professor's office. Change your ideas about a potential major two weeks after you arrive. Understand that UVA is a very pretentious place, and that you belong here too. Welcome!
Denise Walsh Associate Professor of Politics and Women, Gender & Sexuality College of Arts and Sciences Charlottesville Bennington College Columbia University: MA; New School for Social Research: Ph.D. Never doubt your right to be here and remember that this is a public institution whose mission is to serve you. 
Derick F. Davis Assistant Professor McIntire School of Commerce Cambridge, Maine Kettering University B.S. Industrial Engineering Virginia Tech PhD Marketing There is always academic help available and there are not bad questions. 
Diane Whaley Professor Curry School of Education & Human Development Freeport, NY University of Rhode Island, BS Zoology URI, MS Counseling & Human Development; Oregon State University, PhD, Exercise Science ASK FOR HELP; there are plenty of people willing to assist you, and there are more "First Gen's" than you think! Reach out to professors, advisors, RA's...whoever you feel comfortable talking to. 
Donna Landen Assistance Professor  School of Medicine - Family Medicine Coral Springs Florida Florida Atlantic University - BA Accounting Medical University of SC - MD degree Don't compare yourself to others, just follow your own path
Douglas Laycock Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Religious Studies Law Wood River, Illinois Michigan State University B.A. 1970 University of Chicago J.D. 1973 Don't be intimidated by students with more money and fancier high schools. You are just as smart as they are, or you would not have been admitted here. You can do this.
Dreama L. Montrief Johnson Associate Director/Career Counselor Career Center Martinsville, Virginia University of Virginia - Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies University of Virginia - Master of Education in Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education Take time in your first semester to seek out an advisor or mentor who can be a support to you at the University. They could be a staff member, a dean, a faculty member, a local religious/spiritual leader or more. Be intentional and ask for their mentorship and support!
Elliott Weiss Oliver Wight Professor of Business Administration The Darden School Charlottesville (now)  Originally Philadelphia, PA University of Pennsylvania (BA, BS) University of Pennsylvania (MS, MBA, PhD) Remember your roots.  Be yourself.  Don't be intimidated by all of the people coming from families with college degrees.
Ervin Jordan Jr. Associate Professor & Research Archivist Small Special Collections Library Norfolk, VA Norfolk State College Old Dominion University Take advantage of unexpected opportunities!
Esther Poveda Lecturer of Spanish Arts & Sciencces Madrid, Spain Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). English The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA and ABD in Spanish
Fogarty, Gerald P. William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Religious Studies and History Arts and Science--Religious Studies/History Baltimore, MD Fordham university, NY, BA, MA, history Yale, History, M.Phil., Ph.D., Woodstock College, M.Div; Union Theological School, S.T.M. Always do the best you can, seek advice and help from professors--that is what they are here for--and do not measure yourself by other students' success, except to try to emulate them.
Foteini Kondyli Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art & Archaeology McIntire Department of Art   Athens, Greece (BA in archaeology) University of Birmingham (UK), MA and PHD in Byzantine Archaeology Do not hesitate to seek help and find mentors among the faculty and your peers.
Frederick Schauer David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law Law School Newark, New Jersey Dartmouth College, AB Dartmouth College, MBA; Harvard Law School, JD You are feeling insecure and underprepared, perhaps with good reason compared to those with more family educational background, but almost all of your classmates are also feeling insecure and underprepared, even if for different reasons.
Gary Nimax Assistant Vice President for Compliance Compliance Staunton, VA UVA, BA James Madison University, MBA Please ask for help from university administrators or faculty when you need it.  Some students have the benefit of asking a parent who attended college, but situations are different over time and between schools so even a parent may not know the best way to handle it.  While there a great deal of information available on-line for review, you still may wish to discuss your specific circumstances with someone.
Gerry Starsia Associate Professor Curry School New York, New York Hofstra University, BA University of Virginia, PhD  Grit, determination, and belief in one’s self is critical to success. Anything is possible.
Gloria Graham Associate Vice President for Safety and Security  EVP-COO  West Terre Haute, Indiana  North Carolina Wesleyan University, Rocky Mount NC  Saint Mary of the Woods College, St. Mary of the Woods Indiana  Research the resources available and don't be embarrassed to ask for assistance. I can still remember the first day I went to class and can still feel the level of anxiety and uncomfortableness I had. I suffered alone because I was ashamed of my status and lack of understanding how to navigate college. Our unreasonable expectation for perfection or fear of being vulnerable or "less than" will almost always have a negative impact on our success. 
Griff Chaussee Senior Lecturer  MESALC, CSAS Racine, WI University of Chicago University of Wisconsin, MA (x2)  Treat your studies like your job. Make a reasonable schedule, and stick to it. 
Herbert Tucker John C Coleman Professor of English Arts & Sciences East Providence, RI Amherst College  BA Yale University PhD In the long term, the most practical education is not the most immediately career-oriented.
Ira Herbst Professor of Mathematics Mathematics Department/College of Arts and Sciences New York City Cornell University - Bachelor of Engineering Physics U.C. Berkeley - PhD in Physics I think you grow up faster being first generation.  No real help from family to whom university is foreign.  Treasure your independence!
Jack Davidson Professor Department of Computer Science Nashville, TN Southern Methodist University University of Arizona If your situation was like mine, your parents (who did not attend college) likely did everything they could to make sure you could go.  You owe it to them and yourself to take full advantage of the opportunities that they worked so hard to provide you.
James Silay Program Coordinator for Student Engagement Student Engagement/ODOS Pittsburgh, PA Case Western Reserve University - B.A. in Sociology University of South Carolina - M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Do not be afraid to ask for help, guidance or advice from faculty and staff. These individuals are always happy to work with you and in some instances will become life-long mentors and/or friends.
Jamie Leonard Director, Office of Health Promotion Department of Student Health Dutch Flat, California California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo / Social Sciences-Foreign Affairs San Diego State University / Public Health All those times that you've felt awkward or that you didn't belong will make you so much more effective, authentic, and strong throughout your life.
Janet V. Cross Assistant Dean for Graduate Research and Training, Associate Professor Pathology, School of Medicine Natural Bridge NY Jefferson Community College, AAS and SUNY College at Fredonia, BS Case Western Reserve University, PhD, Molecular Biology and Microbiology Please don't hesitate to reach out for help!  Seeking help is not a sign of weakness.  Instead, it demonstrates the willingness (and the wisdom) to utilize available resources.  
Jason Papin Professor Biomedical Engineering Fresno, CA University of California, San Diego University of California, San Diego Ask questions of everyone.
Jay Hertel Professor Department of Kinesiology, Curry School Chilton, WI University of Wisconsin-La Crosse UVA (masters), Penn State (PhD) Don't assume that professors are too busy to talk with you - they work at a university because they want to work with college students and aid in their professional development. Be proactive in communicating with faculty about course work, internships, and other learning opportunities. Go to office hours or make an appointment if you can't make it to office hours.
Jeffrey corwin Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology School of Medicine    Cornell University, B.S. in Biological Sciences University of California, San Diego, Ph.D. In Neurosciences Go to speak with professors during office hours and find a mentor or more than one mentor. 
Joe Rehder Undergraduate Manager Engineering Broadalbin, NY SUNY Cortland - B.S. in Sport Management Marshall University - M.S. in Sport Administration Use the resources provided to you here and don't be afraid to ask for help when it's needed.
Joel Rini Professor Spanish, Italian and Portuguese Cleveland, Ohio Kent State University. BS in Education: Spanish Major, French Minor University of Michigan. Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics If you get off to a bad start, do not give up.  Never quit!
John Casteen 3rd University Professor, Professor of English English Keswick now, but originally, Portsmouth, VA UVa, BA (English) UVa, MA and PhD Work hard, and believe in yourself.
John Painter Senior Data Analyst Institutional Assessment & Studies Lexington (Rockbridge County) Virginia James Madison University B.S. University of Virginia, M.Ed. Ph.D.   
John Stankovic BP America Professor SEAS/Computer Science New York, New York Brown University - Electrical Engineering Brown University PhD Computer Science Your success is up to you and how you approach your education. Opportunities exist for all students and just take advantage of them and you will succeed. Be pro-active!
Josh Skiles Career Advisor Frank Batten School Bassett, Virginia UVA: BA Foreign Affairs (Minor in History) UVA: MEd Higher Education Use your resources, even if it means using a resource to find another resource. Sometimes it can be intimidating to reach out to people or put yourself out there, but there are a ton of people on Grounds, myself included, who want nothing more than to help you succeed!
Josipa Roksa Professor of Sociology and Education; Senior Advisor for Academic Programs Sociology (A&S)/Curry/Provost Office Petrinja, Croatia Mount Holyoke College, B.A. New York University, Ph.D. What do you do if you find yourself in a foreign land, where you don‚Äôt understand much of the language and many of the customs seem strange? You look for guides and interpreters; you look for somebody who understands where you came from or at the very least who can help to translate. The same holds for college. Don‚Äôt do it alone. Build relationships, find guides and coaches, seek resources and opportunities. That will make the journey more enjoyable and pave the way to your desired destination.    
Juan Olazagasti associate professor of radiology radiology Charlottesville VA university of Puerto Rico, MD This is a great institution and I am proud to work here
Karen Ingersoll Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, Licensed Clinical Psychologist School of Medicine New Orleans, Louisiana Louisiana State University, B.A. Southern Methodist University, M.A. Clinical and Counseling Psychology, University of Virginia, Ph.D. Learn about the resources available and use them, including professors' office hours, TA help, tutoring, library assistance, computer assistance and financial aid.  They are there for you, so use them to make up for what you don't know that you don't know.  Ask questions of other students about schedules and how they pick courses and courseloads, and how they think about their college "career" in terms of preparing for the future.  
Karen Rendleman Senior Associate Vice President, Health System Development Health System Development, UVA Health System New York, New York Georgetown University, BS Foreign Service, International Economics University of Virginia, MA Public Administrtion Take advantage of what the University has to offer beyond academics to build a strong network of friends and faculty mentors.  
Kathleen Acevedo Adminsitrative Director Department of Emergency Medicine / School of Medicine Springfield, Illinois University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana  B.S. in Business Administration University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana MBA Cherish your educational opportunity! Guard your time carefully throughout your college career.  Focus on keeping a healthy life balance while maintaining self-discipline and strong organization with your studies.  Collaborate with other students and reach out for help when you need it.  Offer your help to others when you can.  Build a strong friendships with your peers.  Most of all, keep your focus on your future and have clear goals for your life.  Strive toward your future with confidence and believe in yourself!
Kelly Sulick Senior Lecturer in Flute Department of Music Pinckney, MI University of Michigan, BM-Flute Performance/BA-English Language & Literature University of Southern California, MM-Flute Performance Never be afraid to ask questions--both in class and (especially) outside of class! Asking questions is the best way to grow, and it can lead you to new heights you never thought possible.
Ken White Associate Dean and Professor School of Nursing Okmulgee, OK Oral Roberts University, BS in Biology; Virginia Commonwealth University, BSN University of Oklahoma HSC, MPH; Virginia Commonwealth University, MS, Nursing; Virginia Commonwealth University, PhD, Health Services Organization and Research Be good at what you are good at and don't compare yourself to others.  It is better to strengthen your strengths than focus on what you don't have.
Get to know your professors and volunteer for things.
Be committed to delayed gratification and the joy of learning new things.  When other students are going to the beach for Spring Break, and you have to work, remember delayed gratification.  You are working for something really important to you.  Others may take their privilege for granted.
Kevin Sauer Head Women's Rowing Coach Athletics Indianapolis, IN Purdue University BS Management 1976 Purdue University Teaching Certification 1978 Anything is possible.  Do not limit yourself to those things with which you are most comfortable but reach, fail and learn.
Liz Ram√≠rez-Weaver Embedded Therapist at the School of Engineering Counseling and Psychological Services Charlottesville, VA Bachelor of Science Syracuse University Master of Social Work  Syracuse University  Become financially literate so that you can make wise decisions about money, including work (salary negotiations), investing, and spending and saving. Use this time to explore and try new things by taking a class outside of your comfort zone. Don't delay in asking for help. 
Margaret Jean Harden Associate Vice Provost for Academic Administration Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost Tucson, AZ University of Arizona (BA, History) University of Georgia (MA, History) My sense is that being a first generation student at UVA is very different compared to my own experiences. But, I guess if anything I would emphasize self care and self advocacy. Be kind to yourself and ask, ask, ask for help or special consideration when you need it.
Marcus Martin Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity Office for Diversity and Equity Covington Virginia NC State University  Eastern Virginia Medical School  Follow your passion and never give up.
Marina Escamez Ballesta Lecturer of Spanish Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Spain Universidad de Murcia, Spaiin West Virginia University You have more resources to build your future than ever! Do take advantage of them!
Mark Thomas Professor of History & Economics CLAS Hampton Court, UK (birth place) Lincoln College, Oxford, UK.  BA in Modern History & Economics. Cornell, MA (Economics); Nuffield College Oxford, UK, DPhil
Marrissa Jones Social Equity Advisor Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy Hollywood, FL University of Virginia, Global Public Health BA   Don't worry if it takes time for you to find your voice and a sense of belonging at UVA and into the rest of your personal and professional career. Coming into an environment that was not built and designed to work for you takes time to navigate and it won't happen overnight. There are others who can relate and empathize with your story, sometimes it just takes time to find that community. Never give up hope and believe in yourself- you've made it this far and you're destined to keep going!
Maurice Walker Program Coordinator, Virginia-North Carolina Alliance Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity Charlottesville, Virginia University of Virginia - Bachelor of Arts in Sociology Curry School of Education, University of Virginia - Master of Education (Educational Psychology) Do not feel ashamed of your background or circumstances, use it for inspiration.  Take advantage of the opportunities and resources UVA has to offer.  Finally, do not wait until the last possible second to ask for assistance.  
Melinda Poulter Director, Clinical Microbiology Pathology Greenville, TX University of North Texas, MT(ASCP) University of North Texas, PhD The days are long, but the years are short. Find a way to love the process, especially on the most difficult days. Otherwise, you may find the years to be long as well. 
Melody Bianchetto Vice President for Finance Finance Martinsville, VA UVA, BS Commerce JMU, MBA  
Michael J. Smith Professor Arts & Sciences, Politics Yonkers, NY Harvard College, A.B. 1973 Oxford University, U.K, M.Phil.;  Harvard University Ph.D. Reach to meet all your professors during their office hours and be willing to share some ideas, as well as your goals and history, with them. 
Michael Palmer Director & Professor, General Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence Casper, Wyoming, USA University of Wyoming; BS in Chemistry University of Wyoming, Ph.D. in Chemistry My advice to 1st-generation students would be to recognize that college is often harder for you than other students who have insider information and support mechanisms that help them navigate the system. If something feels harder for you than others, there may be an invisible barrier in your way that someone has told them how to avoid. Feel comfortable asking for help and advice in these situations.  
Michelle Bland Assistant Professor School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology Norfolk, NE Hamline University, BA Biology UCSF, PhD Biomedical Sciences Keep going.
Michele Claibourn Director, Research Data Services Library Shawnee, OK Rice University University of Wisconsin-Madison You're work is not to figure out how to fit into this university, but to help change this university to be welcoming to more people like you.
Mike Gallmeyer Consumer Bankers Association Professor of Commerce, Finance Area McIntire School of Commerce A dairy farm near Ossian, Indiana Carnegie Mellon University, B.S. Applied Mathematics and Industrial Management University of Pennsylvania, M.A. and Ph.D. in Finance

Never underestimate how unique you are! Your story is just as interesting as everyone else!

Neal Rock Assistant Professor of Studio Art; Painting Department of Art. College of Arts & Sciences Port Talbot. Wales (UK) BA (Hons) Fine Art. University of Gloucestershire Ph.D. Painting (by-practice). Royal College of Art. London (UK) Seek out faculty and peers who share your socio-economic experiences and background. Dialogue, solidarity and exchange will not only enhance your academic experience but help you achieve your long & short term goals and aspirations.
Nengliang (Aaron) Yao Assistant Professor Public Health Sciences/Medicine Wuhu, China Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, China Penn State, PhD in Health Policy and Administration Stay humble and aim high
Nichole Flores Assistant Professor Religious Studies  Denver, Colorado Smith College, A.B., Government Yale University, M.Div., Boston College, PhD, theological ethics
Nicole Eramo Asst VP for Student Affairs Student Affairs Oakland, NJ UVA UVA There is no one way to be a UVA student. 
Nina Solenski Associate Professor Neurology SOM Charlottesville, Va  Southern CT State University Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia  Don‚Äôt be too independent - you may have had to do much on your own and ‚Äúgrow up fast‚Äù; just like you may have learned to trust yourself, learn to trust others to be your mentors, and to ‚Äúbe there‚Äù for you. 
Novella W Thompson Manager UVA HS, Population Health Germany West Virginia Wesleyan College, BA - Public Relations, English Marshall University, MA - Clinical Counseling, Psychology See education as opportunity and a truly needed aspect of evolution not as part of your family make-up or not. It is necessary and important to open and broaden minds and provide opportunities however, also realize, education and learning is a lifelong journey. 
Pamela Norris Executive Dean School of Engineering and Applied Science Portmouth, VA Old Dominion University, BS in Mehanical Engineering and Mechanics Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD, Mechanical Engineering Don't be afraid to ask for advice.  People are eager to share and help, but they need to know you want to hear them
Pamela Sprouse HR Business Partner UVa Human Resourses (supporting the College of Arts and Sciences) Charlottesville, VA University of Virginia, BA in Religious Studies   You do belong and you can do it.
Patricia Herndon Office Manager ODOS Charlottesville, VA Bluefield College, BS   Don't try to isolate yourself.  Jump in with both feet, be social, make friends, do things even if it is uncomfortable.  This will eventually change and become normal to you.  Don't allow yourself to go home every weekend.  Do something out of your comfort zone by staying at school on the weekends and take up something new - do sports, join a club.  You'll be better for it.
Patricia S Sullivan Assistant Professor of English, General Faculty English, College of Arts and Sciences Charlottesville, VA Southern Connecticut State University, B.A. University of Pittsburgh, MFA and PhD You are not alone.  Talk to your professors and teaching asssistants, go to their office hours, ask questions, seek resources. If they won't or can't help you, or even if they can and you just want to widen your network of support, find someone else who will help: an advisor, a classmate, a librarian, a coach, a tutor or academic support center. Persist. You can do this.
Patrik Sandas Associate Professor of Commerce Commerce School Charlottesville Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland Carnegie Mellon University Try to be open to different opportunities to engage in activities with faculty or other students. You can learn a lot from these interactions and gain a feeling of greater connectedness too.
Paul Adler Kenan Professor of Biology Biology Department/Arts and Sciences New  York, New York Carnegie Mellon MIT PhD Do not let any disadvantages be an excuse to prevent you from succeeding.  
Paul Martin Associate Professor Batten Vallejo, California  UC Irvine U Wisconsin phd  Find mentorship where you find it. Don‚Äôt just look to your professors and overlook others willing to help. I found my most important mentors in the professional staff rather than with faculty. 
Paul Targonski, MD, PhD Associate Prof of Medicine School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of General Medicine Chicago, IL University of Chicago, BA University of Illinois, MPH, MD, PhD; University of Oxford (Oxford, England) Post Doc You're never in it alone, there are always resources and you should never feel fearful or timid about finding and using those resources
Paula Sprague Assistant Professor, General Faculty Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, College of Arts & Sciences Fish Creek, WI Knox College, Galesburg IL University of Wisconsin - Madison Find and communicate with mentors from a variety of backgrounds; a broad spectrum of input provides a rich perspective of the possibilities and opportunities. And if something doesn't go exactly as you had hoped or expected, find a constructive lesson in the experience and move on. 
Phoebe Crisman Professor of Architecture / Director, Global Studies - Environments + Sustainability Architecture / Global Studies Madison Township, PA Carnegie Mellon, Bachelor of Architecture Harvard University, Master of Architecture in Urban Design Fearlessly pursue your passions and believe in yourself - even when those around you can't imagine what might be possible. Set out on your great adventure!
Rachel Most Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs College of Arts & Sciences Philadelphia, PA Temple University Arizona State University First, make connections with faculty and staff and ask for help when you need it. Two mistakes students make include missing out on making these wonderful connections and not asking for help when needed. If you don’t sure who to ask, ask anyone; they will get you to the right person. Second, pursue what you love to study. You only have one chance to be an undergraduate student!
Rachel Nottingham Miller Associate Director International, Summer & Special Academic Programs Weaverville, North Carolina Bachelor of Music Education, Mars Hill College (now University), Mars Hill, NC Master of Arts Education, School Counseling, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC; PhD Higher Education, UVA Ask questions, seek help, look for guidance.  There are people here eager to provide assistance.  It can be intimidating to show up for a professor's office hours or to go to an administrative office to ask a question, but you're the reason that those office hours are scheduled and those administrative offices exist.  Don't be shy!
Rafael D. Romo Assistant Professor School of Nursing Portland, OR California State University, Bakersfield, CA, BS Mathematics University of San Francisco, CA, MS Nurisng; University of California, San Francisco, CA PhD If you are faced with a challenge (academically or otherwise) and catch yourself saying, "Well, everyone else has done this, so I just have to figure it out." Ask for help. "Everyone else" probably did at some point themselves.
Ray Keller Alumni Council Thomas Jefferson Professor Biology Cape Girardeau, MO Southeast Missouri State College, Cape Girardeau, MO  BS in Biology University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ill (MS and PhD) Postdocs at Yale and University of Indiana Be confident that you belong in college.  Coming from the farm, academic life was very different, but I soon found that the differences were more superficial than substantive, and my background gave me unique experiences, understandings, and strengths to draw on. So will it be for you.
Rebecca Coulter  Assistant Director, Pre-Health & Law Advising  UVA Career Center  Tazewell, VA  UVA; Psychology '09 FSU; Career Counseling '13 Don't be afraid to do what works for you even if it's different than what your peers are doing. 
Rob Kelly AT&T Professor of Engineering SEAS Philadelphia, PA Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University Don't isolate yourself or be intimidated by other students who seem to "have it all together."  They don't any more than you do.  Find a group of good friends and lean on each other.
Rob Patterson Associate Professor McIntire School of Commerce Dallas, Texas BA-Texas State University PhD-University of Nebraska Believe that your journey is worth it. My dad's pursuit of a college degree was cut short and shaped largely by WWII. My sister and I turned out to be the first to graduate college in our family. Some of our grandparents didn't even finish high school. My dad helped us believe we could and would earn a degree. Others outside the family played valuable role models for us, as well. Know that you have support here at UVA to make your dreams come true.
Rob Tharpe Assistant Dean for Budget and Foundation Secretary/Treasurer McIntire School of Commerce and McIntire School of Commerce Foundation Charlottesville, VA McIntire School of Commerce, BS in Commerce McIntire School of Commerce, MS in Accounting If you have a setback while pursuing your higher education, you must regroup and continue towards your goal.  You will be glad you did.
Rob Tyler Associate University Counsel Office of University Counsel United Kingdom by way of Richmond VA UVA (B.A.) UVA (J.D.) Don't think your first-gen status makes you less capable, less deserving, or less prepared than other students.  You are at UVA by merit and you are surrounded by people that want you to succeed. Ask for help.
Robert Berry Professor Curry School Charlottesville Old Dominion University University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Ph.D.  Find a community to connect with social and academically. Also, find allies within the faculty.
Robert Kemp Professor Commerce Jacksonville Florida  Florida State University  Florida State Ut Never stop dreaming 
Robert Nakamoto Professor Dept. Mol Physiology & Biol Physics, School of Medicine Sunnyvale, CA University of California, Berkeley, AB University of Maryland at Baltimore, PhD Get used to being outside your comfort zone. As a first generation college student, you are often in a place that your family may not be able to help you prepare. Be true to yourself but don't be afraid to ask for advice to help you seek your goals. 
Robert Nakamoto Professor Mol. Physiology & Biol. Physics, School of Medicine Sunnyvale, CA University of California, Berkeley, BA University of Maryland, Baltimore, PhD Always be willing to be outside your comfort zone and work to achieve the next level up.
Samuel Bodily John Tyler Professor of Business Administration Darden Business School Lewiston, Utah Brigham Young University Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lead out. Help follow-on prospective students achieve their dreams. 
Sid Milkis White Burket Miller Chair and Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professor Department of Politics Philadelphia, PA    Muhleburg College B.A. Political Science Pursue you intellectual passions. As the first in my family to attend college, I felt incredible excitement . It aroused my intellectual ambition -- and encouraged me to put off concerns about life after graduation until my senior year. The college experience should be viewed as an end-in-itself, a life changing experience. Not as a means to a career (although an intellectual immersion prepares you more than you might think for life's challenges). Also pursue your passion outside the classroom -- I wrote an opinion column for the college newspaper, for example; and participated in the local anti-war movement. Go all in!
Stefano Grazioli Professor McIntire Cville Bocconi, Italy U of MN - MS In CSci, PhD in Management Find a mentor
Stephen Arata Professor and Department Chair Department of English, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Vienna, Virginia College of William and Mary (BA) University of Chicago (PhD) Visit faculty during their office hours. Talk with them about your interests and about your courses. Ask questions. Don't hesitate to ask for advice, clarification, answers to questions you don't know the answers to. 
Steven Majewski Professor of Astronomy Department of Astronomy Niles, IL Northwestern University, B.A. in Physics, B.A. in Mathematics, B.A. in Integrated Science University of Chicago, PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics Do not be intimidated if/when you feel that your peers who are not first-generation students seem to have an easier time or more natural feel for how the academic world works.  In time these differences will fade, and you may even appreciate that you have some "real world skills" that these peers may not.
Susan Thacker-Gwaltney Asst. Professor CISE / Curry School of Education Smithfield, VA B.A and M.Ed.  The College of William and Mary PhD University of Virginia Major in what you love.  Show up to class and introduce yourself to your professors. Get involved in groups and clubs that interest and excite you. Don't be afraid to ask for help.   You may change quite a bit as you grow and learn, but your family will still love and be proud of you.   Enjoy every minute and learn everything you can!    
Susie Bruce Director, Gordie Center Student Health Virginia Beach, VA UVA, B.A. English  UVA, M.Ed. Counselor Education, specialization in student affairs practice in higher education Be yourself and be proud of your accomplishments and your roots!  Find your niche and know your experience and perspective enriches UVA.  Not every student or faculty member is a 3rd generation Wahoo (although sometimes it may feel that way).
Tony Baglioni Associate Professor McIntire School of Commerce Baltimore, MD University of Maryland, Baltimore County, BA and MA University of Virginia, PhD Don't let anyone say you can't get an education.  Neither of my parents graduated high school.  None of my siblings went to college.  No one had much expectation that I would either.  I failed out of college on my first attempt.  Had to keep trying.
Tonya R Moon Professor EDIS, Curry School of Education and Human Development Russellville, AR University of Arkansas - Little Rock; BS - Mathematics & Statistics University of Virignia - PhD My one piece of advice to a first-generation student would be to establish and maintain a close relationship with a mentor.
Tremayne D. Robertson Assistant Dean ODOS Chesapeake, Virginia UVA United States Take ownership of your institution and exhaust your resources.
Vickie  Southall Assistant Professor of Nursing School of Nursing Louisa, VA VCU Richmond, VA  BSN UVA Charlottesville, VA  MSN As a first-generation student, you actually have an advantage on other students.  They had the help and knowledge of their parents to get this far.  You did it on your own!  You have greater strength and inner resources than you probably realize.  Never forget that, and have confidence in yourself!
Wanda Weaver Research Scientist CASTL/Curry School Fishersville North Carolina State University University of North Carolina at Greensboro United States Take advantage of programs and support services offered at UVA - Career Center, Student Affairs, Financial Aid, etc. 
Wanda Weaver Research scientist  CASTL/Curry Asheboro NC North Carolina state university Bachelor of Arts speech communication  University of North Carolina at Greensboro master of education  Take advantage of the resources available at UVA and get to know your professors and university support staff in student affairs
William Guilford Associate Professor and Undergraduate Dean Biomedical Engineering / School of Engineering Wauseon, Ohio University of St. Francis (formerly St. Francis College), Biology and Chemistry University of Arizona, Ph.D. Physiology Get to know your professors.