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Getting There

First-generation American (and college student) attends a conference for students like her…with a little help from USC Marshall

March 05, 2019
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Going to college is always an achievement. But for some students, being there has special resonance: As the first in their family to attend, they are realizing a dream that was generations in the making.

The annual 1vyG event, the largest conference for first-generation, low-income (FLI) students in the world, is a celebration of their accomplishment. This year’s gathering, held in February at Princeton University, welcomed FLI students nationwide, including from right here at USC.

Among the attendees was USC Marshall freshman Nadira Noor, a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from Kandahar, Afghanistan. She received funding from Marshall to make the trip to New Jersey and was astounded by what she found there. “As a first-gen, low-income student, I struggle in different ways every day,” she notes. “At 1vyG, there were so many valuable resources that will help me throughout my college career and beyond.”

“I came back better equipped to address the issues Marshall students like me face – and more driven than ever to be an agent of positive change.”--Nadira Noor '23

The conference, designed as a safe space for FLI students to connect and empower one another, offered a wide range of interactive workshops and networking opportunities. Employers such as Goldman Sachs and Facebook were on hand for a career fair showcasing career paths from Silicon Valley to Wall Street.

Krystal Gallegos, an FLI sophomore at USC Dornsife, participated for the second consecutive year. Her first 1vyG experience, at the University of Pennsylvania, inspired her to come back as an event ambassador. “My job was to help students get funding and then work with them to arrange the logistical aspects of the trip,” she says. “I also helped oversee the application process – we had about 40 people vying for 10 spots from USC.”

In addition to Marshall, the selected candidates represented a diverse cross-section of Trojans: students from Viterbi, Dornsife, Annenberg and Price. They joined undergraduates from campuses like Stanford, Wellesley, Harvard, Columbia and Brown for the two-and-a-half-day event.

For Noor, the conference was illuminating. “I was the only Marshall student who attended, and I felt like I was representing my school,” she says. “I came back better equipped to address the issues Marshall students like me face – and more driven than ever to be an agent of positive change.”