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First-generation college students earn scholarships


December 04, 2006

First-generation scholarship recipients – students from 14 Arizona communities whose parents do not have a college degree – were among 196 students and about 275 donors honored by ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The college's annual scholarship celebration recognizes student achievement and the generosity of its donors.

The college's first-generation scholarship program has grown to 35 awards this year, from 22 last year – the first year for the awards.

“These students are on track to be the first in their families to graduate,” says Jill DeMichele, director of scholarship development and administration for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Collectively, they will receive $38,000 in scholarship support, an increase from last year's $10,000.”

The first-generation scholarship recipients represent 20 different undergraduate degree programs in the college. They range from incoming freshmen to graduating seniors, and include continuing and transfer students, DeMichele says.

The college's first-generation scholarship program is a special initiative of David A. Young, ASU vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Young, himself a first-generation college graduate, set out four years ago to help first-generation students overcome the formidable financial obstacles they face in trying to complete a degree.

Additionally, Young launched the college's undergraduate research scholarship program. Both initiatives include endowed scholarships named after individuals and families and annual scholarship gifts from friends and alumni.

Of the 194 students receiving scholarships from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this year, 35 received first-generation scholarships – and nine students, including five Arizona residents, have been awarded undergraduate research scholarships.

Students are applying for three undergraduate research scholarships for the spring semester, which will bring the total to 12 this academic year, DeMichele says.

Examples of research topics being investigated by undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences range from a study of the biochemical processes in urban aquatic systems to the philosophical justifications for free speech as related to the cartoon caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

New freshmen, transfer and continuing students interested in applying for the 2007-2008 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences scholarships can access application information online at (http://clas.asu.edu).

Those interested in donating to scholarships, including first-generation scholarships and undergraduate research scholarships, for ASU liberal arts and science undergraduate students can contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at (480) 965-2617 or make a donation online at (http://clas.asu.edu/giving/supportstudents.htm).