Diana grew up in a low-income household and was the first in her family to attend college. She always understood that college was a pathway towards a better future for herself and her family, but was often unsure about what steps to take. Thanks to resources and mentors she was able to navigate the college process, though it still wasn’t easy. To make sure other FGLI students are not left overwhelmed by the process, she wanted to give back by sharing the collected insight from peers that have overcome similar challenges. FCPS NextGen was created to do precisely that.
About FCPS NextGen
FCPS NextGen is an alumni network that supports the educational and career success of first-generation and low-income (FGLI) students. It aims to reduce inequality by leveling access to life-changing opportunities and experiences. The network creates a community of like-minded students, shares resources about programs and scholarships, and connects students to older mentors through in-person events, webinars, publications, and mailings.
FCPS NextGen developed from a research project that collected the experiences and challenges FGLI graduates faced. Using that data, needs were identified as to increase mentorship opportunities and resource awareness. In hopes of bridging this gap, NextGen was established to first create comprehensive scholarship and summer program databases and a “survival guide” to coach students through navigating the college process. Next, over 40 alumni volunteers were recruited to serve as informal mentors to students. And finally, schools and nonprofits were connected with information and links to the project and resources to share with their students.
“One of my best outcomes of the project was getting to personally connect with other FGLI grads, especially my co-founder Angie. We both grew up in the same area but never crossed paths until NextGen united our mutual passion for addressing inequality and access,” Diana shared. Since the two connected last year, they have been support systems for each other, passing along opportunities and giving advice on college, study abroad, and careers.
As of June 2022, 48 current students and alumni signed up as part of the network.
In the future, FCPS NextGen hopes to expand its reach by connecting with more students and alumni and hosting in-person school events and college visits.
Updated June 2022