First-Generation Support Working Group (FIRST)

What is FIRST?

FIRST (First-Generation Support Working Group) is a student organization committed to facilitating community empowerment to promote belonging and success at the University of Virginia’s School of Education & Human Development among students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

What is the mission and vision of FIRST?

  • To build community among first-generation students in the School of Education and Human Development
  • To create an atmosphere that acknowledges and values the diverse set of identities that first-generation students encompass, including additional marginalized intersecting sociocultural attributes such as race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status
  • To uncover and address the institutional norms and deficit perspectives within our school and the University that impede the success of first-generation students
  • To foster a campus climate and culture that empowers first-generation students, through a strengths-based approach, to recognize and utilize the cultural capital they already possess from community and life experiences for success in higher education

What are FIRST's upcoming programs? 

Who are the members of FIRST?

LindsayCarlisleLindsay Carlisle (4th-year Doctoral Student - Special Education;


Jesse McCanJesse McCain (4th-year Doctoral Student - Higher Education;

Helen MinHelen Min (4th-year Doctoral Student - Curriculum & Instruction;

Theresa PfisterTheresa Pfister (4th-year Doctoral Student - Educational Psychology/Applied Developmental Science;






Who is FIRST's Advisor?

Ryan Sherman

Ryan's experience includes academic program management, recruiting, admissions, operations, and human resources.

Ryan Sherman

Jessica Livingston

She believes giving stakeholders the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way often results in better programming.

Jessica Livingston

Cody Lloyd

Cody has previously worked with residential and distance learners at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Cody Lloyd

FIRST Engagement