Barry McNamara  |   Published October 25, 2015

First-generation students

Capó Crucet reading to highlight college’s FGCS observance
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Photo: The New Tropic)
As part of its current observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, Monmouth College has been celebrating the experiences of first-generation college students (FGCS). One of the highlights will be a reading by Jennine Capó Crucet, author of the novel “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business.
  Free and open to the public, the event is co-sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Life, the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the Office of the President. It will also include a Q&A session with Capó Crucet, who is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska. The daughter of Cuban-born parents, Capó Crucet grew up in Hialeah, Fla., and was the first in her family to earn a college degree, graduating summa cum laude from Cornell University. Later, she earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota.   Her experience at Cornell, she wrote, “was the beginning of everything else: leaving Hialeah, I realized, meant facing and dealing with the outside world’s expectations of Cubans, Latinos from urban Miami, etc.”   First-generation college students are defined as coming from homes in which neither the parent nor primary guardian obtained a bachelor’s degree. Thirty percent of Monmouth’s students are FGCS.   “First-generation college students are four times more likely to leave college after their first year,” reported Carina Olaru, assistant professor of modern languages, literatures and cultures, who is organizing the college’s FGCS programming. “When successful FGCS share their stories with current FGCS and focus on their diverse social background, academic achievement increases. First-generation college students can succeed when they use the right tools and strategies.”   On Oct. 30, all students are invited to attend “First in My Family,” a talk with first-generation college students that will be held at noon in the Whiteman-McMillan Highlander Room of Stockdale Center.   As part of the observance, said Olaru, “many Monmouth College faculty and staff have been sharing their FGCS stories, along with many people from outside the campus community.”
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