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From the College of Natural Sciences

Who's First?

​Dear Students,

Many Longhorns—more than 20%—are the first in their family to go to college. Possessing all the skills and abilities they need to succeed, our first-gen students still can encounter some unique challenges. As first-gen graduate Maria Alvarez said in a UT News article, being a first-generation college student for her meant regular drop-ins with an advisor and "asking all the questions I could." College can feel unusual and perplexing to all of us, and all the more so without a history of family members sharing in the college-going experience.

​Next week, we celebrate our amazing First-Gen Longhorns as part of First-Generation College Celebration Week. This is a week of talks, parties, giveaways and more, all aimed at honoring and supporting our First-Gen Longhorns. Whether you are a first-gen student or not, I hope you'll check out some of these events.

My grandfather was the first in my own family to attend college. He feels the opportunities he had then have extended to all of us—his 11 grandchildren and 6 children, who attended college after he did. When we spoke recently, I asked him to tell me the most important thing he learned in college. What he said surprised me. Even though he studied business and worked in sales for much of his career, he feels that learning to do research was his most important takeaway from college. He said that the ability to locate, analyze, and synthesize literature and other sources had a huge impact on his career, and, even today, as a 95-year-old retiree, he feels that doing research helps keep him going. (As a hobby, he researches and writes about naval history.)

Whether you are first-gen or not, I hope your college experience is as impactful for you as it was for my grandfather and our family. And to our first-gen students: Thank you for choosing to be part of our CNS community. I am incredibly proud of what you are accomplishing.

Best,
Dr. Drew

Joke: What did the cell biologist say when her sister stepped on her toe? Mitosis!

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Thursday, 20 January 2022

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