First Gen Hawks program seeing strong student success in and out of the classroom

When Maddie Anderson-Trotter came to the University of Iowa as a freshman in fall 2021, she had a lot of questions, from how to get involved on campus to how to register for classes.

“When I was in high school, I would go to my teachers with those sorts of questions because my parents just didn’t know,” says Anderson-Trotter, a first-generation college student from Council Bluffs, Iowa. “Here, it was really great to have my community with First Gen Hawks to lean on. The First Gen Hawks program definitely assisted in making the transition to college smooth and provided a strong community for me.”

First Gen Hawks, launched with about 100 students in 2020, provides support and learning opportunities to first-year, first-generation students. This includes courses that will set them up for success in and out of the classroom, one-on-one mentoring and coaching, and meetings with other first-gen students with similar questions and experiences on campus.

This year about 170 first-year students participated in the program, which was recently recognized with the 2023 Innovation in Transition Programs Award from NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education. 

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