JUTN introduces new first-generation program

KNOXVILLE – The First-Generation College Student program has kicked off its first year at Johnson University. This program will connect first-generation freshmen to first-generation upperclassmen and faculty.

A first-generation student is defined as a student whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. Students that are classified as first-generation are the first in their family to attend a four-year college with the purpose of attaining a bachelor’s degree.

The new program will offer social activities, workshops, and resources to assist students. Workshops will focus on career planning, financial aid information, scholarships, guilt and many other topics based on student preferences.

Johnson has roughly 120 first-generation students.  So far 15 students have attended the first meeting for the program.

Director of Academic Support, Kelly Estes sees the program as being beneficial to all first generation students that attend Johnson University.

“As the Director of Academic Support, I felt students would benefit from a program that would provide mentors, workshops and other resources to assist them in being successful at Johnson,” she said.

The program will serve to encourage first generation students and offer them opportunities and personal experiences that they may not have otherwise received. Each freshman will have mentors to encourage and assist them in college life and challenges.

Some goals for the program include the development of scholarships for first-generation students and a transportation system to assist students with accessibility to organizations to obtain SALT hours and access to internships.

At the first official meeting 1st G.E.A.R was decided as the official name for the program, standing for First Generation Educated and Ready.

“We want to encourage students to get involved with this wonderful opportunity to connect and develop skills to assist them in their journey at Johnson and for their future,” Estes said.

Students are encouraged to attend the monthly meetings. The next meeting will be Oct 31 at 5:30 p.m. in the EAC Student Center. The meeting will be a board game night with refreshments and all first-generation students are encouraged to come.

For further information, students may contact Kelly Estes at kestes@johnsonu.edu or call 865-251-2426.


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