Monmouth University First to Fly students, Samantha Badilla, Michelle Bulnes, Nayeli Conill, Sherly Gonzalez Lopez, Cassandra Salas, and Gabe Torres virtually participated in the 10th annual Class Action First Gen Summit, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston on Nov. 5.
Conill created the summit logo as the design and marketing co-leader of the Student Planning Committee, and Gonzalez Lopez served on the committee as a general member, while the First to Fly e-board, including Gonzalez Lopez, Badilla, Bulnes, Salas, and Torres, virtually presented on the panel “Building Leadership Through Your First Gen Club: A Conversation with Monmouth Hawks!”
Claude Taylor, director for Academic Transition and Inclusion, served on the summit’s Faculty, Staff, Administrator Advisory Council, and Monmouth University was a co-sponsor of the summit.
“Being part of the First Gen Summit was a remarkable experience. I enjoyed sharing all about the First to Fly Club here at Monmouth University and how my team and I cultivate a first-gen community that supports one another. We strongly emphasized the idea that this club is for the students and how we as the e-board members want their voices to be heard,” Salas, club president said.
During the panel, students shared their experiences and enlightened viewers about the strengths and obstacles of the University’s integration of first-generation students into the campus community, in addition to discussing Monmouth’s First to Fly Club, a student-run organization dedicated to being a space for first-generation students and first-generation allies.
First to Fly also hosted an on-campus screening for club members and first-generation students who registered for the event.
Monmouth is a First-Gen Forward Institution and was recognized in 2020 by the Center for First Generation Student Success, as an institution of higher education that has demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.