National First Generation Day is November 8

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, is National First Generation Day, a celebration of students across the United States who are among the first generation in their families to attain college degrees. At FIU, these trailblazers make up nearly half of undergraduate students.

Justyce Pinkney

Introducing: First-generation student Justyce Pinkney

Senior psychology major Justyce Pinkney plans to earn a Ph.D. To get there, she has spent the last two summers conducting research as an undergraduate through the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and working as an after-school counselor for The Barnyard, a nonprofit organization in Miami that serves low-income children and their parents.

But a long history of family struggles led her to make the difficult decision to move out of the home she grew up in so she could focus on her studies. Earning the Milam Family First Generation Scholarship has helped her keep a roof over her head while she pursues her dream of not only being the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, but the first to pursue graduate school, as well.

“My previous future goals never really included graduate school. The only concern I had was making it through college just so my parents could say, ‘Through all the trials and tribulations, we had one child make it,’” Justyce said. “Now, my mind has changed quite a bit.”

She hopes to one day run a facility that serves as a haven for at-risk youth, providing them food, education, mentorship and resources necessary to help them set a new course in life, as she has done herself.

“I would like to tell the donors thank you,” Justyce said, “not only for this opportunity, but for standing up and donating funds to the first-generation students striving for success.”

Did you know that every donation made in support of first-generation scholarships is matched 2-for-1 by the state of Florida, tripling the impact of every dollar given to FIU’s First Generation Scholarship Program? Learn more here.

About Clara-Meretan Kiah

Clara-Meretan Kiah is a content strategist for FIU Foundation, Inc., and an alumna of FIU's College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts and The Honors College.