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Meet Megan Hannah who was a first-generation undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky (UK) and is currently a Department Operations Manager in the Health Management and Policy department at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. 

Megan graduated with her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Kentucky and completed a master's degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University. She also received a Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL) certificate and is currently a ESL tutor. 

While attending UK, Megan was involved on campus, including: 

  • Volunteer for the Center for Community Outreach (CCO),  
  • Director and Coordinator for PAWS (Promoting Animal Welfare and Services), 
  • Volunteer for the Supported Higher Education Partnership (SHEP),  
  • Volunteer for Mountain Cats,  
  • Member of the Arts and Sciences Living and Learning Program,  
  • Member of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), and 
  • Participated in research in the Comparative Cognition Lab

“I can attest to the various challenges that students can face,” says Megan. “However, with the numerous resources made available at the University of Kentucky, I felt supported throughout my time as an undergraduate and am proud to now work here.” 

Learn more about Megan’s first-generation story, experiences, and advice.

What are some common challenges that first-generation students experience? 

"Between the social and financial struggles, I think first-generation students do unfortunately face a lot of common challenges and it can be isolating if you aren't around others who may share some of these experiences.  

As a first-generation student, I found it difficult to juggle so many things at once without having a mentor who truly understood some of the typical challenges that first-generation students face."  

What are some special traits or unique abilities that first-generation students bring?

"First-generation students bring tons of special traits and unique abilities to their communities! I would say the big one though is their resiliency.  

Because they are the first in their families, first-gens must navigate a lot of unknown territory and must quickly adapt in a lot of scenarios. First-generation students have a unique perspective and drive that they bring to the table."

What is your best advice for prospective first-generation students as they consider where to attend college?

"My advice is to explore the resources that the university provides and see if they align with your needs and to ask for help when you need it!"

What resources would you recommend for first-generation students at UK?

"Take time to familiarize yourself with the programs offered by the Office for Student Success and First-Generation Services, and keep the information handy. Also, explore the various clubs and Living Learning Programs.

Being involved in your community and building your relationships early on in your college years can help relieve the isolating feelings that first-generation students may face."

National Public Health Week 2023

Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health during April 3-7

Learn More