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UA Little Rock Celebrates First-Generation Students 

Students check out one of the tables at First Generation Student Celebration Day.
Students check out one of the tables at First Generation Student Celebration Day. Photo by Ahmed Elkhattabi.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock hosted an event in honor of First Generation College Celebration Day on Nov. 8. The event celebrated first-generation college students, and employees and provided an opportunity to recognize the demographic of first-generation students and the unique challenges they face.

The event was hosted by the UA Little Rock Academic Affairs Retention Office and the Learning Commons in the lobby of Ottenheimer Library. The aim of the annual event is to connect students to the many resources available to them if they are struggling, encouraging them to take advantage of these opportunities if they need help.

“First-Generation Celebration is incredibly meaningful to me, both as a first-generation graduate and as a staff member,” said Tyler Harrison, associate director of the Academic Affairs Retention Office. “Seeing students break barriers as the first in their families to pursue higher education brings me immense joy. Our office closely supports these students, understanding the challenges they face. This event is more than just a celebration; it’s a tribute to their determination and an acknowledgment of their inspiring journey.”

Students were invited to take away school supplies, snacks, and information about all of the university’s resources for academic success.

“Being a first-generation student makes me feel proud of myself,” said Shekinah Jones, a freshman first-generation criminal justice major. “I’m proud of myself for graduating at 16, and I was able to start college early. I feel like I’m breaking generational curses and making my family proud.”

Students appreciate the flexibility that UA Little Rock provides, as well as the financial and academic assistance and the supportive faculty.

Trula, a first-generation student majoring in elementary education K-6, mentioned her appreciation for the flexibility that students can have at UA Little Rock.

“It is really exciting to have this opportunity,” Trula said. “My kids went to school, and I decided to come to college. I chose UA Little Rock because it was a campus where I felt like I could do this at my age; I’m 35. It’s been exciting to be able to come here and learn.”