First Experiences Symposium

First Experiences: A Symposium on First-Generation College Students

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Pugh Auditorium, Benson University Center
*Registration Required*



Join us for a conversation about first-generation college students at the local and national level. We will discuss best practices, and opportunities to better serve a population of students that depends highly upon us. This is a one-day symposium for higher ed. professionals in North Carolina, and neighboring, colleges and universities that work with first-generation college students. The program includes presentations from Dr. Jennifer Engle, the vice president for policy research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy, and Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

First Experiences – Flyer

Deadline—Monday, April 7, 2014

Registration Fee
— $15.00  (Community)
— $10.00 (WFU Faculty & Staff)
*Registration fee includes choice of lunch and program materials*




joseph_soaresJoseph A. Soares, PhD.
Professor of Sociology, Wake Forest University

 Professor and author, Soares has been very active behind the national movement to rethink college admissions policies, including the test-optional policy. His books The Power of Privilege, was instrumental in Wake Forest’s decision to be first top-30 national university to go test-optional in admissions. Other books by Soares include, The Decline of Privilege: the Modernization of Oxford University, and the most recent SAT Wars. Soares will open the symposium and join the guests presenters in a panel discussion and Q&A session. 


downloadRichard D. Kahlenberg
Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

Rewarding Strivers
Kahlenberg is a prominent scholar and author for inequality in higher education, among other topics regarding education. He has been called “the intellectual father of the economic integration movement” in K-12 schooling, and arguably the nation’s chief proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions”. His presentation will focus on first-generation youth and college admissions.

engleJennifer Engle, Ph.D.
Vice President for Policy Research, Institute for Higher Education Policy

Success for First-Generation College Students
Engle is an expert on many higher education issues, mainly success for first-generation and low income college students. Previous experience includes an ambitious effort to advance the equity agenda in colleges and universities. She was the lead author for “Straight from the Sources: What Works for First-Generation College Students”, among other books. Her presentation will focus on college completion and success for first-generation college students.

Local Program Practitioners

demetriouCynthia Demetriou
Director for Retention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
 Carolina Firsts



FEBRUARY 7, 2014 - Esther Gonzalez-Freeman. (photo by Kim Walker)

Esther Freeman
Director for Watson and Odyssey Scholars Program, Elon University
 Watson and Odyssey Scholars Program



 french93701Timothy Nathaniel “Nate” French, PhD.
Director of the Magnolia Scholars Program, Wake Forest University
Magnolia Scholars Program
First Experiences – Program