MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXIV No. 3
January / February 2012
A Contrarian View of MITx:
What Are We Doing!?
Freshman Advising and MITx
MITx: MIT's Vision for Online Learning
First Generation Project Launched
A Message from the First Generation Project Student Executive Board
We Gotta Have HOPE
FPC Subcommittee to Review IAP
Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility
Memorial Service for Bob Silbey
Teaching this spring? You should know . . .
Under-Represented Minority Faculty and Students: 1987–2012
A Women as Percentage of Total Undergraduates, Graduate Students,
and Faculty: 1901–2012
Printable Version

A Message from the First Generation Project
Student Executive Board

Melanie Adams, Melanie Alba, Luis Juarez, Peter Nguyen

Over the past year, as First Generation students at MIT, we have mobilized to bring greater visibility to our achievements and experiences. With approximately 800 First Generation students currently enrolled, we comprise 16% of the student population. To better address our needs as a distinct group, we have helped establish the First Generation Project (FGP) at MIT (see the accompanying article on the launch of the FGP by Miri Skolnik and John Belcher). As the FGP Student Executive Board, we are dedicated to supporting and empowering all of the pioneering students breaking new ground in higher education. The FGP serves to represent the diverse interests of these First Generation students and those who are interested in learning more about the First Generation experience.

Our goals in participating in the First Generation Project are:

•        To provide a strong sense of community for First Generation students;

•        To raise awareness about First Generation experiences;

•        To provide academic and professional opportunities for First Generation students through networking, and sharing information;

•        To provide community service to assist future First Generation students.

If you want to be a part of our effort to make this project a successful student initiative, we ask that you e-mail us at First generation faculty can also identify themselves by emailing us and submitting a short bio for our Website: We will be hosting events all spring semester and welcome all faculty members to come speak about their work and meet our students. By e-mailing us we will be able to update you on other events as well.

Melanie Adams is a junior in Materials Science and Engineering. Her parents emigrated from the Caribbean, where Melanie acknowledges that "college enrollment is far behind the US, and academic credentials are not always viewed as being achieved on equal or consistent standards.” This view led her parents to stress the importance of a college education, and led Melanie to MIT.

Melanie Alba is a junior in Mechanical Engineering. "Both of my parents were born in Cuba and moved to the United States in the 1970s as political refugees. Having grown up in a working class neighborhood in the Miami area, I understand the difference a college degree can make. One of my goals is to eventually return to Miami, change the conversation about college, and improve education there."

Luis Juarez is a junior in Biological Engineering, whose family immigrated to Texas from Mexico when he was a child, seeking a better education for him and his younger brother. Luis plays soccer for the MIT Men’s Varsity Soccer team, and is interested in pursuing biomedical research relating to the heart.

Peter Nguyen is a sophomore majoring in Molecular Biology and Computer Science. "Both my parents moved to the United States just before I was born and knew very limited English. Neither attended college, and they decided to move to the U.S. in search of a better future. It is my dream to make that future a reality." Peter is also the liaison for the Questbridge Scholars program, a scholarship program for academically talented low-income students.

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