Skip to main
University-wide Navigation

With one of the highest percentages of first-generation students at the University of Kentucky (UK), the College of Public Health (CPH) has recently launched a new resource devoted to the first-generation experience.

What is first-generation?

First-generation students are those UK scholars whose parents or guardians were not college graduates. More than a third of undergraduates seeking a degree from CPH classify as first-generation students.

First-generation students have some shared challenges. Their parents or guardians are often unable to provide the same guidance as other students receive from their families.

First-gen students are more likely to work while attending college, and tend, on average, to be less involved in social groups or to pursue career-oriented and experiential activities during their first two years on campus. 

Dr. Sarah Cprek, assistant professor, and director of undergraduate studies at CPH, understands firsthand the perspective of first-generation students. She, like many fellow CPH faculty and staff, lived the first-generation student experience during her own college career.

Dr. Cprek says, “First-generation students are less likely to realize resources are available to them. They’re more likely to feel imposter syndrome.”

New first-generation website at CPH

In response, CPH has recently launched a new webpage to centralize resources available to these students at

Located on the page are a linked list of campus programs and services available to first-gen students, including faculty and peer mentor opportunities, scholarships intended for first-gen students, and access to UK’s First-Generation Student Services which is housed in the Office of Student Success.

Additionally, the site houses the personal stories of several first-generation faculty, staff, alumni, and current students whose lived experiences will inspire future and current first-generation students seeking a public health education.

First-generation success stories

For instance, the story of Kelsey Gatton, a first-generation graduate and current employee at CPH, shows how to get involved in many leadership roles and opportunities to learn, study, and work. Jessica Howard, first-generation graduate from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and current staff member at CPH, dropped out but found a way to get back and graduate. 

Haley Turner, recent graduate of the Bachelor of Public Health (BPH) at CPH, talks about overcoming adversity and never giving up.

These stories of resiliency, determination, and problem-solving are just some of the unique traits found in first generation learners. 

Britt Allen-Wynn, a first-generation college graduate who now oversees student advising for the College of Public Health, believes first-generation students bring unique perspective and abilities to UK.

“Individuals who come to an experience with no set of expectations—not formed by a mom’s or dad’s or sister’s experience—are really open to new ideas. As a staff member working with these students, I find that so refreshing." 

Visit the new webpage to find important resources available to first-gen students and to read the stories of CPH community members whose own experiences will help share the first-generation perspective.