First-Generation / Low-Income

Updated October 13, 2020

Resident Tutors: Emma Ogiemwanye (Co-Lead), Gorick Ng (Lead), Jarron Lord, Kathryn Reed, Osiris Rankin, Shandra Jones, Shannon Jones

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We all come to Harvard with different backgrounds and experiences. The FGLI team is here for you as a community of tutors who personally understand the first-gen experience and/or who want to share our lessons and hacks to navigate this rarified space. To that end, the FGLI team is also a resource for you. Reach out to any of us for advice with regard to careers and classes, and sign up for our email list to be notified of events. We are here to help and share what we’ve learned on our journeys. Who is FGLI (“First Generation and/or Low Income”)? Those who are on substantial financial aid, who are among the first in their families to pursue higher education in the United States, and/or who identify as being “first gen” and/or “low income” at Harvard. Not sure if you are FGLI? Don’t worry about it! You are still welcome!

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Please feel free to email any of us anytime. We are on this page because we want to help you.

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Important Links

STUDENT-LED COMMUNITIES

  • The EdMobilizer Group, a group of first-gen college student leaders from across the Ivy League and beyond united to support and build community for first-gen, low-income students, including via the two largest first-generation, low-income student conferences in the country: the 1vyG Conference and the EdMobilizer FLI Conference featuring hundreds of students, administrators, and organizations.
  • Harvard Primus, a student-led organization that seeks to ease the transition to college, build a strong and supportive community, and provide a voice for first-gen students.
  • First Generation Harvard Alumni (FGHA), a Harvard Alumni Association shared interest group dedicated to mentoring, advocating for, and providing networking connections to first-generation Harvard students and alumni.

HARVARD-LED INITIATIVES

  • Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), which supports students through financial aid and special programs like the Student Events Fund, the Winter Coat Fund, and community events like HFAI dinners.
  • First Generation Advising Faculty, first generation faculty are those who are interested in working with students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Harvard Next Gen Initiative, a cross-Harvard group utilizing technology to align, consolidate, and enhance institutional support and community building pathways for all Harvard undergraduate and graduate students who are the first in their families to pursue a degree in the U.S and/or are from under-resourced or underserved backgrounds.

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    Resident Tutors

    Emma Ogiemwanye

    Emma Ogiemwanye

    Hello there! I’m a second year tutor born and raised in Long Beach, California. I strongly believe my purpose as a human is to help heal the world (Tikkun Olam in Judaism). I have interned in aerospace engineering at Northrop Grumman, education policy at the US Department of Education and big tech at Google. I also worked full time for Google in communications and public affairs in the DC, HQ and Tokyo offices. I believe big tech needs radical reimagining to reverse the global public health threats caused by its profit-driven omnipresence. I am on the FGLI team because I want scholarship students to thrive at Harvard and beyond. I am here to share what I’ve learned on my journey and provide a listening ear when you need it.

     

    Gorick Ng

    Gorick_Ng

    Hey Adams! I graduated from HBS in 2018 and Harvard College in 2014 as a Government concentrator in Lowell House. I care deeply about helping students (especially first gens!) navigate questions around "What do I do with my life?!" because I was the first in my family to attend college and work in a professional setting (and so had to navigate many of these questions through trial and error). I am currently also a Research Associate at the HBS Managing the Future of Work initiative. Prior to HBS, I worked in management consulting at BCG. In college I was a member of Harvard Student Agencies (where I ran HSA Cleaners), the IOP, and the Harvard College Consulting Group. I am now launching a book to help first-gen college students navigate the unspoken rules of the workplace. Hit me up anytime! I'd love to get to know you.

     

    Jarron Lord

    Jarron Lord

    Hey Adams! My name is Jarron Lord, and I live in C-entryway with my partner, Kathryn Reed, a pre-law tutor here in the house. I grew up in a small town of about 900 people in Western Massachusetts. While both of my parents have advanced degrees, my dad received all of his college education from community colleges and state universities after I graduated from high school, and my mom attended college with two kids and was with the same company the whole time I was growing up so I never experienced the learning associated with corporate recruiting and movement. In high school I chose to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point in order to serve and avoid the student debt that accompanies a private education. Fortunately, the Army gave me a chance to identify opportunities that I would not have thought possible or attainable if I had gone to a private university in a (professionally) low-risk environment; something that can feel impossible here at Harvard. I am happy to share the lessons that I learned through 4 years at USMA and 6 years in the Army! Since graduating, my partner and I have lived in Virginia (twice), the Florida pan-handle, Albuquerque NM, and Fayetteville, NC. Through our moves, Kathryn and I have renovated three homes, so ask me about the stress and excitement that comes with buying houses. I am excited to be back in Massachusetts (not sure if I am ready for the winters again). You will see me walking our adorable Shiba Inu, Windsor, around campus. He gets a little spooked in the city, but he loves treats, so feel free to stop us and ask for one!

     

    Kathryn Reed

    Kathryn Reed

    Hi, Adams!  I graduated from Harvard College (and Adams!) in 2013 with a concentration in sociology, a secondary in philosophy, and a language citation in Swahili.  After college, I worked as a qualitative researcher and a legal analyst, and I am currently in my second year of law school.  I am on the FGLI team because I am passionate about connecting students with resources and increasing access to opportunities.  While at Harvard, I did not fall within the FGLI label, but I understand the many ways in which the privileges and opportunities that Harvard affords can feel inaccessible and out of reach.  No matter your background, I am here to talk, to listen, and to share.

     

    Osiris Rankin

    osiris

    I am passionate about supporting FGLI students because I believe deeply that the world needs your perspective, your voice, and your contributions-- especially now. We live in a time where it can be easy to identify what hasn’t worked and what isn’t working. There’s a lot to fix. We are well positioned as Harvard students to help our fields and our communities move forward. I believe in each of you and your ability to change at least one part of the world for the better. The key obstacle is in finding ways to help institutions help you, and that is where we come in as tutors. From personal experience, I know that the path to success is not always straight. I was raised in poverty, but I was fortunate to have an outstanding mom who always gave more than she had to give. Things went ok in school until they didn’t. I unexpectedly failed my first senior year of high school, and then I failed my first year of community college, too. I was lost. Years later, I found my way back to college, and my college advisors, instructors, and my community were huge sources of support for me. My advisors, especially, helped teach me ways to turn my ideas into plans. They then encouraged me to take chances and turn my plans into realities. They also helped teach me the ins and outs of what graduate school is, why I may care, and how to get there. I’ve been here at Harvard for four years studying clinical psychology in our PhD program. I have a feel for how things work here, and I have a special spot in my heart for underdogs, always. I’d love to hear from you, learn more about who you are, and help in any way I can.

     

    Shandra Jones

    Shandra Jones

    Hey yall! I was born and raised in Prichard, Alabama -- in a primarily Black, working class and lower-income community in Mobile with my mom and sister -- before my performance in the Duke TIP and A Better Chance programs opened doors to private boarding schools.  After boarding school (Indian Springs School), I graduated from Stanford University (major PolicSci, researching post-conflict transformation in Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Middle East; dorm committee, waterski team, Junior Class President) and UNC-Chapel Hill (MBA).  But don’t let the brands fool you -- I’m “first-gen everything!” Meaning second in my family to complete college, first in graduate education, and I worked three jobs throughout college to cover my expenses and help my family. After a lifetime as a pre-JD/MBA straight arrow, I found my calling in the business of education and now get to focus on how to better serve underrepresented students -- ie, ethnic-racial minority, first-gen, lower income, diverse regionality, etc -- by fixing the institutions and not by fixing the students.  I’m currently a 4th-year PhD student at HGSE focusing on Human Development, Learning & Teaching and researching ethnic-racial identity as an asset for post-secondary success among students of color. I spent nearly 10 years in college graduate admissions, fellowship admin, and student services before Harvard.  And I love talking about merging your passions with your ambitions, demystifying the systems and working the resources of the university. My mission: no other students feel invisible, erased or alone on-campus; dismissed in class; or professionally eschew study abroad or those un-/low-paying internship and career opportunities due to financial concerns. Drop me a note and let’s talk!

     

    Shannon Jones

    Shannon Jones

    Greetings Adamsians! My name is Shannon Jones, born in Pine Bluff, AR but raised in San Diego CA as the youngest of TEN (10!) children raised by my groundskeeper father and cafeteria worker mother. I graduated from Stanford undergrad where I majored in chemical engineering as the first in my working class, blue collar family to apply, attend and graduate from a four-year college or university. My father’s proudest day was seeing his son graduate college as he never finished high school since he dropped out in 10th grade. I am currently the Technical Advisor for an energy nonprofit where I focus on innovative approaches to decarbonize transportation and buildings with a focus on equity. My passion is helping FGLI students write their own story as mine includes at one point living in a cramped household with 20 relatives for a year and going to public schools where just one-third of African Americans in the district were expected to graduate high school on time. I have had to overcome people's lowered expectations about what I can accomplish my entire life. Thus, I would love to share with you my life hacks with being the only person of color in STEM classes and in board rooms, navigating financial aid discussions and job offers, identifying great mentors and promoting the dignity of public service work as it is not always charity-based and can provide financial security and job stability.