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Center for Student Excellence, Hodes #8
P: 8165013666 / E: avilasuccess

First-Generation Students at Avila

What does it mean to be a first-generation college student?

“A first-generation student can be defined as a student whose parents did not complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It can be one parent or neither parent.”

At Avila, it means you’re in good company. You’re a trailblazer in your family. First-Gen students are the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university. At Avila, we’re here to help you blaze a path to the future for your family and your community.

Students that are first-generation are invited to apply for the TRIO Student Support Services program. 

TRIO is a program designed for first-generation students. They provide workshops, social events, advising, tutoring, computer use, mentoring, financial literacy and planning, and FAFSA/financial aid assistance. Students must apply and be accepted into the TRIO program in order to participate.

Students in TRIO are required to:

  • Meet with one of the academic coordinators on a regular basis
  • Attend a certain number of workshops each semester
  • For questions or more information about the TRIO program, please contact Anissa Martinez, Director of TRIO Services. Her email is and her office phone number is 816-501-2439

First-Gen Celebration week

The Center for Student Excellence (Office of Student Success, Career Services, Counseling Services, TRIO Student Support Services, and Student Financial Services) hosts a First-Generation Celebration Week each year during the first full week of November.

This week includes many events. Below are examples of events we have hosted in the past. The week of events is listed below:  

  • Merch Day 
    • Students came to Hodes to grab some first-gen merch and take pictures 
    • The first 10 students that took pictures and tagged us (@avilasuccess) received a backpack full of school supplies & other cool things! 
  • Counseling Day 
    • Students were invited to attend a workshop in the Transformational Learning Center room in the Library to discuss the school-work-life balance.  
    • This workshop was facilitated by Kasey Ashcraft, Coordinator of Counseling Services.  
  • Career Day 
    • Students were invited to the Marian Lounge to hear from a panel of professionals to learn about their first-gen journeys from college to career. 
    • The panel was moderated by Shawna Pena-Downing, Coordinator of Career Services
  • FAFSA Frenzy 
    • Students joined us in the Creative Commons computer lab in Dallavis to start or renew their FAFSA.
    • The first session was from 12pm-2pm. The second session was from 4pm-6pm.  
    • FAFSA assistance was provided by the Financial Aid office and the Financial Literacy coordinator for the TRIO program.  
  • Open Mic 
    • Students joined us in the Marian Lounge to mingle with other first-generation students and hear some of their stories. Students and staff stopped by to share their stories as well! 
  • Free Cocoa and Donuts 
    • Students visited Hodes and enjoyed free cocoa and donuts delivered by Duck Donuts.
    • Students had the opportunity to take photos in front of a TRIO background with First Generation frames.

If you missed any of the workshops, check out our YouTube channel

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