First-Generation Faculty Initiative

The UC strides to send a clear message to all first-generation college students: "You belong here and you are capable of achieving at the highest levels".

The University of California (UC) serves large numbers of first-generation college students: Nearly half of in-state students who began their studies on UC campuses in fall 2016 are the first-generation in their families to attend college. The First-Generation Faculty Initiative aims to elevate the visibility of UC faculty and academic leaders who were themselves first-generation college students. The main purpose of the initiative is to foster a sense of belonging that can boost retention and success rates among UC's first-generation students.

The First-Generation Faculty Initiativeis a network of first-generation faculty committed to supporting first-generation students. They are active in the community, promote their first-generation identities, and advocate for the first-generation community at UCLA.

As the First To Go Office tries to re-establish the First-Generation Faculty Initiative, we hope to accomplish the following goals:

  • Greater transparency of first-generation faculty across campus
  • An established community of students, faculty, and staff through First To Go events and networking opportunities
  • Increased cross-campus support for first-generation students

Are you a UCLA faculty member and identify as first-generation college? Join the faculty campaign by filling out this brief form!

ftg-ucla-faculty Video

UCLA faculty who were first-generation college grads aim to encourage, inspire. They share their stories with new students who are first-gen.

UCLA is helping first-generation students feel connected Video

UCLA faculty who were first in their families to go to college help others like them overcome fear, self-doubt.

First-generation college student Denise Peralta, class of 2016, has decided to purse a Ph.D. on her path to being a math teacher, thanks to UCLA professor Gerardo Ramirez, who was the first in his family to earn a degree.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself there is a lot you are bringing to the table.

— Professor Gerardo Ramirez

Over 180 UCLA professors have self identified as being the first in their family to graduate from a 4-year institution.

Check out a few of those faculty below!

Miguel Unzueta

Professor of Management and Organizations

Miguel Unzueta

Inaugural Dean, Eileen L. Strempel

Inaugural Dean, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Eileen Strempel

Inmaculada M. García Sánchez

Professor of Social Research Methodology, Department of Education, and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of International Migration (CSIM)

Inmaculada Garcia Sanchez

Professor Sherrilyn Roush

Professor of Philosophy

Sherrilyn Roush

Anthony Friscia

Integrative Biology & Physiology

Anthony Friscia

Anna Lau

Professor of Psychology

Dr. Anna Lau

Jessica L. Collett

Professor and Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education, Sociology

Jessica Collett

Kristopher W. Kersey

Assistant Professor, Art History

Kris Kersey

Mike Lens

Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy

Professor Michael Lens

Professor Emeritus, Gerald Kominski

Professor Emeritus, Health Policy and Management

Gerald Kominski

Professor Charles J. Alexander

Associate Adjunct Professor/School of Dentistry

Charles Alexander

Distinguished Professor Chon Noriega

Distinguished Professor, Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media

headshot of distinguished professor Noriega

Ethan Poole

Assistant Professor, Linguistics

Headshot of professor Ethan Poole.

Alejandra Casillas

Faculty, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine

Headshot of Doctor Alejandra Casillas.

Amanda Kay Montoya

Associate Professor, Psychology

Headshot of Professor Amanda Kay Montoya.

Brian Taylor

Professor of Urban Planning & Public Policy; Director, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies

Headshot of Professor Brian Taylor.

Professor Margaret Jacob

Distinguished Professor of Research, History

Image of Professor Jacob, holding a book.

Jeff Long

Professor and Chair, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

Headshot of Professor Jeff Long.

Dr. Nikki Barry

Assistant Professor of Environmental Justice Education, Department of Education

Headshot of Dr. Nikki Barry in front of greenery.

Alison L. Bailey

Professor, Human Development & Psychology Dept. Of Education

Headshot of Professor Alison Bailey.

Mark S. Handcock

Distinguished Professor of Statistics, Department of Statistics and Data Science

First Gen College Grad

Ann Hirsch

Distinguished Professor

First Gen College Grad

Professor Jessica Rett

Professor, Linguistics

First Gen College Grad

Tamar Christensen

Continuing Lecturer, Writing Programs

First Gen College Grad

Joshua Javier Guzmán

Assistant Professor, Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs, Director of the LGBTQ Studies IDP / Department of Gender Studies

First Gen College Grad

Professor Paul J. Mathews

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology; Investigator, Lundquist Institute; Co-Director Neurotherapeutics Institute

First Gen College Grad

Cesar D. Favila

Assistant Professor of Musicology

First Gen College Grad

Kenneth Graham

Professor (Emeritus), UCLA Law School

First Gen College Grad

Annual First-Gen Welcome Soiree

Pictured: A few first-gen faculty at the 2nd Annual First-Gen Welcome Soiree