UAF has been recognized by NASPA and the Center for First-generation Student Success as a First-gen Forward institution. UAF received the First-gen Forward designation in recognition of the institution’s demonstrated commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes for first-generation college students -- students who are the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. UAF is the only university in Alaska to achieve this honor and joins an elite group of just 157 universities nationwide to earn the First-Gen Forward designation.
A first-generation college student, or first-gen, is a student whose parents or guardians have not completed a four-year degree.
First-Gen Forward Mentorship Program
The First-Gen Forward Mentorship Program connects first-gen students with first-gen
UAF faculty or staff who can help students navigate college. Through sharing experience
and knowledge, mentors and mentees are encouraged to build lasting relationships.
SSS and NDAC will offer a series of formal mentorship opportunities and mentors and
mentees are encouraged to meet up outside of these activities as well.
The mission of the First-Gen Forward Mentorship Program is to create supportive one-on-one mentoring relationships for first-generation students to enhance student success.
Through one-on-one mentorship and facilitated activities, the First-Gen Forward Mentorship Program seeks to develop students in the following:
- Academic engagement
- Career preparation
- Co-curricular involvement
- Value-based goal setting
- Self-efficacy and sense of belonging
Who can participate?
Any student who self-identifies as first-generation can participate in the First-Generation Mentorship Program. Our students will be paired with a first-generation mentor from the UAF community (staff, faculty or graduate student). Your mentors can provide guidance, connect you with resources and share their experiences to help you navigate college.
What are my expectations?
Our students are expected to communicate with their mentors regularly. The student and the mentor can determine how frequently they meet based on their schedule and availability. Students should also participate in First-Gen Mentorship Program events and opportunities designed to build their knowledge and skills, as well as connect with other first-gen community members.
- Tickets to events
- Free First-Gen Swag
- A supportive community of individuals with similar an relatable experiences
- Support in your college career
- Personal and professional development
Who are mentors?
First-Gen Forward Mentors are members of the UAF community who identify as first-gen who volunteer to share their knowledge and experience with first-generation students with similar identities, academic, research, or creative interests. Mentors may be staff, faculty, administrators and in some cases, graduate students or upper-class undergraduates.
First-Gen Forward Mentors will:
- Attend mentor training
- Attend kickoff meeting
- Connect with mentees once per month
- Attend closing celebration
- Act as an advocate for first-gen students
Mentors can expect to spend 2-4 hours per month on activities related to the First-Gen Forward Mentorship Program.
Some perks include but are not limited to:
- Tickets to events
- Coffee cards
- First-Gen swag
- Professional development
- The opportunity to make an impact in a student’s life
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will this program take up a lot of my time? Is it a long-term commitment?
A: The level of involvement is determined by the mentor's time availability and the nature of the mentor/mentee relationship. We do recommend frequent contact for a successful relationship and ask that you commit to a minimum of one e-mail or phone call every month. Mentors and students are matched for the academic year with the option to continue the relationship during the summer or be matched with someone new in the fall.
Q: What type of activity is conducive to establishing a good mentor/mentee relationship?
A: Consistent communication is key. Workplace visits, resume review, informational mock interviews, conversations about life after college, or attending a school event are also appropriate activities that help establish the mentor/mentee relationship.
Q: Who makes the initial contact?
A: Students are encouraged to make the first contact, but both mentors and mentees are asked to contact each other as soon as contact information is made available.
Q: How are students matched with mentors?
A: Mentors are matched based on their profiles. Student participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Although we anticipate all mentors being matched, we cannot guarantee that a match will take place.
Q: Can I participate in the mentoring program even though I don't work/live close to UAF?
A: Yes, you can be a mentor even if you do not live or work close to UAF, or if you have a hectic travel schedule, as long as you and your mentee remain committed to the relationship and maintain contact via e-mail, video conference, and/or phone.
Q: What are Student Support Services and NDAC’s’ role in the Mentor Program?
A: SSS and NDAC provide the opportunity for mentors and students to interact with each other. Guidelines for the program and mentor/mentee matches are set through these offices, and the program administrator organizes the first reception where mentors and mentees get a chance to meet. Problems and concerns should be directed to the program administrator. The structure of the relationship and frequency of interaction is left to the mentor/mentee team to accommodate individual preferences and a variety of mentoring needs.
Q: Whom can I contact if I have any questions?
A: Please feel free to contact our First-Gen AK office at 907-474-5684, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit in the Wood Center office 101J1
First-Gen AK Events
First-gen students are an important part of the UAF community: over 50% of UAF students are first-gen. In order to celebrate and support first-gen students, Student Support Services and the Nanook Diversity and Action Center have partnered on the 1st Gen AK initiative which features the following events and programs:
First-Gen Forward Kickoff
First Week of the Fall Semester
Kick off the new school year with other First-Gen students, staff and faculty in our First-Gen Forward Kickoff! During this event we are joined by various First-Gen leaders at our institution sharing their experiences, talk about how you can be a part of our new First-Gen Forward Mentorship Program, and just celebrate with our First-Gen community. All attendees receive a #FirstGenAK t-shirt to show off their First-Gen pride!!
National First-Generation College Student Day
The National First-Generation College Celebration, observed annually on November 8, honors the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, The Higher Education Act was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. UAF honors our first-generation community through a series of events!
First-Generation Cording Ceremony
April 29th, 2023 | 2-4 p.m. | Wood Center ballroom and Virtual
During the First-Generation Cording Ceremony each spring, we celebrate the achievements of first-gen students who are receiving the baccaulaureate degree! First-gen graduates are given a teal honor cord to wear during UAF’s commencement ceremony to signify that they are the first in their family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
Trailblazer Recognition Ceremony
April 25, 2023 | 6-8 p.m. | Ruth Lister Gathering Room, UAF Community and Technical College, 604 Barnette Street and Virtual
During the Trailblazer Recognition Ceremony each spring, we celebrate the achievements of first-gen students who are receiving post-secondary credentials up from occupational endorsements to associate's degrees. Trailblazer graduates are given an orange honor cord to wear during UAF’s commencement ceremony to signify that they are the first in their family to graduate with these credentials.
Resources for First-Gen Students
Student Support Services
514 Gruening Building
The mission of Student Support Services (SSS) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks is to increase the academic achievement, retention, and graduation rates of first-generation, low-income students, and students with disabilities. SSS offers:
- Course Selection
- Information for financial aid programs, benefits and resources for locating public and private scholarships
- Education and advising to improve financial and economic literacy
- Assistance with graduate and professional programs applications
- Individualized advising for personal, career, academic information, and activities
- Exposure to cultural events and academic programs not usually available
Rural Student Services
Brooks Building, Main level
The university or college experience can be a new place with an entirely different feel for many of our rural and Alaska Native students. Rural Student Services strives to foster a sense of belonging by providing cross-cultural, comprehensive advising. We help you navigate everything from degree planning and class registration to all steps of applying for financial aid, including applying for the FAFSA and obtaining scholarships through tribal and regional corporation resources.
- Meeting academic requirements
- Registering for classes
- Finding financial aid
- Exploring housing options
- Declaring a major
- Exploring careers
Academic Advising Center
510 Grueing Building
The Academic Advising Center provides advising for undeclared, pre-majors, AHEAD and non-degree seeking students. We can answer information on deadlines, degree and other education requirements and much more. If we do not have the answer, we’ll be happy to direct you to the appropriate person or office.
Student Health and Counseling Center
203 Whitaker Building
At the Student Health and Counseling Center, students may receive various medical services, counseling, health education, and assistance with student health insurance. Students must pay the health center fee to be eligible for these services.
The counseling staff offers individual, group and crisis intervention counseling. Counselors, all with graduate-level training, assist with a variety of personal and interpersonal issues. Students should call to schedule appointments. Students in emergency situations are usually seen the same day.
The medical staff provides primary health care and referrals for specialty medical services when appropriate. General office visits for preventive care, illness and injury are provided at no charge. Medications, laboratory services, medical supplies and some physical examinations are provided at reduced cost. Students should call for appointments. Urgent care appointments are available when necessary.
208 Whitaker Building
At UAF Disability Services, our goal is to provide UAF students with access to academic classes and course materials through an interactive accommodation process.
UAF Disability Services provides accommodations to students on the Fairbanks campus as well as on the Bristol Bay, Chukchi, Interior Alaska, Kuskokwim, Northwest, Community and Technical College (CTC), UAF eCampus, and College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) campuses.
Students using community campuses or distance learning programs should contact Disability Services via telephone, fax, e-mail, U.S. postal mail, or in person to request and arrange for accommodations.
We enjoy supporting individuality, promoting independence and celebrating graduations.
Center for Student Rights and Responsibilites
110 Eielson Building
The Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities (CSRR) supports student-centered programs and services designed to assist students in achieving their personal, educational, and social goals. Our mission is to empower and encourage students to be successful in all facets of their lives and to promote a campus culture of respect and institutional values of diversity, inclusivity, and caring. The core principles of Student CARE are to Connect, Advocate, Refer, and Educate through early intervention and connecting to supportive resources to ensure their success as a student during their time at UAF. The CSRR student care services foster a sense of well-being and facilitate student success through holistic student development. We promote an educational and developmental approach to student conduct that prioritizes learning and growth, accountability for behaviors and decisions, and ethical development. The Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities also provides support related to other primary functions of the University, such as student trainings, safety and prevention programs, student requests for assistance, and other issues important to student success and well-being.
107 Eielson Building
The Financial Aid Office provides counseling and information to students and parents, and administers a comprehensive program of financial assistance. Get help paying for your college expenses. Most of our students receive some type of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, loans and work study. You can use financial aid to help pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies and living expenses such as housing and food.
Financial aid is funding that helps students and families pay for the cost of college. Need-based financial aid, such as the Pell Grant, Supplemental grants and Work-Study, are provided on the basis of the financial need of the student and is generally determined by your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other types of financial aid are not determined by need, such as loans and merit-based scholarships.
We offer a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, loans and Federal Work-Study.
Career Services and Student Jobs
304 Eielson Building
Our mission is to provide you with professional advice, guidance, and networking opportunities to help you build a successful career and business relationships. Whether you are interested in finding an internship or job, exploring career options, changing careers, or hiring amazing new recruits, let us help you reach your career goals! Our services include:
- Career Exploration
- Career Coaching
- Federal Resume Coaching
- Resume Review
- Cover Letter Review
- Interview Practice & Prep
- Career Fairs and Events
- Job Board
- Social Media Review
To check out what student employment opportunities are available go to careers.alaska.edu or click on the link below.