Our Story

The Alliance for the Low-Income & First-Generation Narrative (AL1GN) is a student-centered conference series and coalition dedicated to empowering and connecting first-generation and low-income (FGLI) students. AL1GN began in 2015 as a coalition FGLI students and the staff who support them, growing to now include hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and administrators from dozens of schools and organizations across the United States. Since 2015, we’ve held four annual national conferences at schools across the East Coast and look forward to expanding to new areas.

Our Vision

AL1GN strives for a fair and equitable higher education system that empowers all students to become successful college graduates, regardless of socioeconomic status, generational educational attainment, race, immigration status, or other protected classes. Therefore, AL1GN works to provide a platform for first-generation and low-income students to share their diverse narratives, build community, and discuss innovative policies and programs to implement at their home institutions. AL1GN knows that inequity in education is exacerbating current income inequality in the U.S. Higher education can be a powerful means to socioeconomic mobility, and the building of capital in communities of color and rural communities. To this end, our programming centers student experiences, academic and professional development, and local and national activism.

Our Conference

AL1GN seeks to provide a forum on which FGLI students can take control of their own diverse narratives while working together with faculty and staff to spark new and revamped programming at their home institutions. Over the course of a weekend, participants exchange ideas, create new relationships with fellow student leaders and concerned staff, and develop the foundation on which impactful work can occur. Our policy is that housing for students will be provided, and admission and meals are free for all attendees.

AL1GN is student-centered. Each year, two undergraduate students from our host school assemble a team of other students, staff, and administrators to plan a conference that they’re proud to host. Students choose themes, workshop topics, speakers, and more, with the help of the AL1GN National Team.

Our Team

The AL1GN National Team supports each team of undergraduate organizers as they plan the annual national conference. Our permanent team currently consists of the following members:

Chris Lam is one of the co-founders and current co-executive director of AL1GN. He graduated in 2017 with a dual Bachelor’s from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Columbia University. He previously worked as a data scientist and started his PhD in Astronomy at the University of Florida in Fall 2020. He is from South Florida and is always talking about dropping a mixtape that never comes.

Michaela Moses joined the AL1GN executive team after organizing the 2019 National Conference at her alma mater, the University of Virginia, where she graduated 2 months later with a Bachelor’s degree in History. She now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and works as a case manager in Worcester County. Michaela is originally from the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York but loves living near the ocean.

Joseph Mendoza is currently a sophomore at Camden County College pursuing a degree in Public Health. He officially joined AL1GN’s executive team in April 2020 and desires to become a public health practitioner focusing on health equity, health policy, and health promotion for underserved communities. Joseph immigrated to the United States at the age of six and hopes to share his story as a DACAmented, first-generation student.

Are you an AL1GN alum looking to stay involved? Say hi – you might be just who we’re looking for!