“First Generation” Project Launched to Inspire Students at Seattle Central Community College

SEATTLE — The “First Generation” project, launched today at Seattle Central Community College, aims to inspire first-generation college students to complete a college education. The centerpiece of the project is a website featuring true stories of Seattle Central and Seattle Vocational Institute faculty and staff who are first-generation college graduates. The website is: seattlecentral.edu/firstgen.

First-generation students are the first in their immediate family to graduate from a college or university. About 40 percent of the students at Seattle Central are first-generation college students.

The website was envisioned by Dr. Paul Killpatrick, president of Seattle Central Community College. Killpatrick was a high-school drop-out who was also a first-generation college student. His story is included on the website.

“First-generation students are trailblazers, and they face unique obstacles,” Killpatrick says. “A first-generation student is extremely important to a family. We know from research that younger siblings are more likely to attend college once an older sibling has paved the way.

“As someone who did not complete high school and as a first-generation college student, I remember the challenges of trying to navigate a college campus,” Killpatrick says. “I was a minority at Oregon State University; I did not see a lot of people who looked like me. Today, I advise students to find an anchor – someone who is willing to listen and give advice.”

Killpatrick envisions the website as a place where prospective students will find inspiration. “These are people who had some of the same challenges our students face today, but they persevered and they succeeded.”