AL1GN Online 2020

Want to revisit some of our old AL1GN Online sessions? Check them out below (links in titles)!

April 26, 2020:

Stories: An Informal Discussion on Mental Health

Co-hosted by Jay Wang and Chevaughn Wellington of The Steve Fund’s Youth Advisory Board, in this session we will listen to stories from recent college students about their mental health journeys and engage in the broader discussion of how stigma, guilt, and other factors related to being FGLI, especially now, play into your own mental health. The Steve Fund is an organization dedicated to the support and advocacy of mental health in students of color (and also, in this case, FGLI students!).

April 25, 2020:

Roadmapping for the Future

In this session, we want to do a proper introduction of AL1GN for people who haven’t attended one of our conferences and set the stage for our organization moving forward. We will outline our strategic vision and get feedback from participants about those goals and what else they’d like to see at future AL1GNs. We will then release our AL1GN 2021 conference bid application form (which is due June 15, 2020!).

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 has been working as a data scientist for the past three years and will be starting a PhD in astronomy at the University of Florida this fall. 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 and works as a case manager in Worcester County, MD. Right now you’ll find her at home catching up on the latest television shows or tending to her indoor plants.

Check out our presentation slides here!

April 18, 2020:

Undocumented Limbo as an FGLI Student

In this session, Joseph Mendoza and Lesley Reyes will be co-presenting on the intersection between being FGLI and undocumented in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Joseph Mendoza is a sophomore at Camden County College and is pursuing a degree in Public Health. He 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 student.

Lesley is a sophomore at Saint Joseph’s University seeking a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to pursue a career in immigration law to serve the immigrant community. Last summer, she attended an immigration conference held by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, which encouraged her to initiate an immigration advocacy project back on campus.

Check out Joseph and Lesley’s slides here and their advocacy resources here!

Flipping Your Narrative: Creating an FGLI Student Community at Your School

Hosted by Chris Sinclair of FLIP National, this workshop will discuss why FGLI student organizations are important to creating lasting change for FGLI students on college campuses, and within this discussion he will explore the pros and cons of other forms of FGLI student support. The workshop will also give an overview of factors to be considered in the creation of an FGLI student organization, such as the extent to which administrators should be engaged in the process of building an FGLI student organization, what issues the organization will work on, and how to increase participation in the organization once it is formed. Chris will also discuss how FLIP National can assist with the building of FGLI student organizations, as well as the benefits of a student organization becoming a FLIP National chapter. Lastly, participants will break into groups to discuss action items that can be taken towards building an FGLI student organization at their schools.

Chris Sinclair is the Executive Director of External Affairs for FLIP National (First-Generation Low-Income Partnership). FLIP National is a national non-profit organization that does advocacy work on behalf of first-generation and/or low-income (FGLI) college students at colleges and universities across the country. Chris Sinclair is a graduate of the School of General Studies at Columbia University, earning his bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Business Management, as well as a fellow in the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Community Fellows Program. Chris is passionate about creating, developing, and implementing resources, working with colleges and universities across the country to advocate for policy change at institutions of higher learning. By helping FGLI students create space and build community for themselves, Chris seeks to maximize their chances to succeed in changing their circumstances for the better and leaving their mark on the world.

Check out Chris’s slides here!

April 11, 2020:

Job Searching in the Era of Coronavirus

Blake Mandell is on the investment team at Pace Capital, a Series-A focused venture capital firm in NYC. He grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL, received a BA in Mathematics and Contemplative Studies (double major) from Brown University, and an MA in China Studies with a focus in Economics and Management from the Yenching Academy at Peking University in Beijing. Previously, he has worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, founded and sold a startup, and published papers in academic journals. Since realizing he is a first-gen college student, Blake helped Chris Lam start AL1GN, and was the Director of Outreach for the first conference. He plans to discuss the state of the job market, and share ways to effectively network and find a job or internship in these trying times.

Check out Blake’s talk notes here!

Past Pre-Med: Pursuing a Career in Medicine (Cheyenne Williams)

Moderated by Cheyenne Williams, an MD student at The University of Pennsylvania, this interactive webinar will offer guidance on applying to health profession graduate programs as an FGLI student. From finding shadowing opportunities, to financing application fees and interview travel, there are unique challenges posed to pre-health FGLI students. During this uncertain time in education, we hope to provide some answers to common questions about this sometimes-daunting process. Whether you are applying this cycle, are an administrator to FGLI pre-health students, or your interest in medicine has just been piqued by COVID, join members of the FGLI medical community in discussing how to navigate the pre-health process. This session will include a brief presentation on the basic steps of applying to medical schools followed by an open conversation with the audience about personal experiences pursuing medicine as a FGLI graduate.

Cheyenne is a third-year MD student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She grew up in Sterling, VA and received a BS in Biology from the College of William and Mary. Since pursuing a career in medicine, she has participated in many diversity efforts including co-leading Penn LIFT US UP (Low Income and First Time Undergraduate Students at the University of Pennsylvania), the first recognized FGLI affinity group at Penn Med.  She has also enjoyed opportunities to engage with amazing first-generation students throughout Philadelphia public schools as a high-school tutor and health educator.  Professionally, she is pursuing a career in Urology and hopes to utilize her Certificate in Medical Education to address the needs of underrepresented learners throughout their medical careers.  

Check out Cheyenne’s slides here!

April 4, 2020

A Town Hall on Institutional Responses to COVID-19

With COVID-19 on everyone’s minds, we’ve decided to start our limited webinar series with a virtual town hall allowing students and staff to share their perspectives on institutional responses to the outbreak, as well as best practices. Moderated by Dr. La’Tonya Rease Miles, co-runner and founder of the Empowering First-Generation College Students Facebook group, this two-hour session will aim to address those topics that most concern you from your answers to our surveys, including exacerbated housing and food insecurity, job prospects ahead of an impending recession, and virtual learning.

Dr. La’Tonya (LT) Rease Miles is the director of First Year Experience & Strategic Initiatives at UCLA, where she works collaboratively with the residential life and student affairs departments as well as academic departments campus-wide to develop initiatives and increase awareness of the first-year experience. Dr. Miles has established two successful programs specifically for first-generation college students — one at UCLA and the other at Loyola Marymount University — both of which are recognized nationally for best practices. She consults with institutions across the U.S. about first-gen students and has advised local high schools about developing on-site programs. A former first-gen student, La’Tonya served as Director of the UCLA McNair Scholars Program and was herself a McNair Scholar while attending Howard University.