First-Generation Initiative

naspsa first gen logoTheFirst Generation Logo First-Generation Initiative (FGI) was established in September 2019 to ensure academic success for first-generation college students, or those who are the first in their family to attend a postsecondary institution.

A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor's degree in the United States.

Being a first-generation college student is a proud accomplishment. SMU recognizes that you will face unique experiences as you begin (or continue) this exciting journey and we look forward to supporting you!

Kaitlyn Contreras '20
Kaitlyn Contreras
The daughter of a single mom who worked two jobs to support her family, Kaitlyn Contreras was determined to attend college.

“I knew I wanted to go to college; I just didn’t know how,” she says. “But I followed the advice of my grandmother. She never went to school and never learned to read or write, but she taught me to always ask questions.”

As an eighth-grader, Kaitlyn began asking questions, seeking a more challenging high school than the one in her neighborhood.

What Kaitlyn couldn’t know then was that asking questions would open the door to unique opportunities. Read more


Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program (MICHHERS)

For 2020, students interested in the fields of Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature, Classical Studies, English, History, Linguistics, Romance Languages and Literatures, Sociology (qualitative), and Women’s Studies (any humanities field) are eligible. Due February 8th


PayPal Internship 2020

PayPal is seeking undergraduate and graduate students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and above to apply for a paid internship starting in June of 2020. Your resume should include experience in web development, in Java and Java Script programming languages (for software engineering applicants) and/or provide information on your related projects or internships. Due March 2nd


Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program

For the 2019 Fontana Transport inc Scholars Program, candidates must plan to study in any of the following concentrations: Transportation Management, Math, Science, Engineering ( Any field of engineering), Architecture, Environmental Design, Pre-Med, Psychology, and Spanish Language/Literature. The student applicant does not have to be a U.S. citizen, but they must have a minimum 3.5 weighted (H.S.) GPA and graduate a US high school in Spring or Summer of 2019. Once students register, they will be receiving an email with the application. In the application form, there will be instructions on how to send in an application, along with all other documents needed with application. Opens November 2019 Due Mid-March 2020

Coming Fall 2020!

If you are a student at SMU and would like to be in the student organization please email

I'm First!

I’m First!, an initiative of Strive for College, is an online community celebrating first-generation college students. Check out video stories from first-gen students, read student blogs and discover colleges that have special programs to support their first-gen students. We feature YouTube video testimonials from first-gen students and graduates from across the country. 

Are You A First-Generation Student? 

The Center for First-generation Student Success serves as the premiere source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. This means that we help colleges and universities help you succeed as a first-generation college student. While we do not offer direct support to first-generation students in high school, college, or university, we want to help you navigate and locate more information.

Matthew Robinson

Director of Student Persistence and Achievement (SPA),has seven years of experience directing academic support for student-athletes at SMU. With Matt’s ten years of experience at SMU, he has developed a broad range of strategic partnerships with faculty and staff and has extensive experience helping new students transition to college. Matt graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an M.Ed. in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, following a B.A. in Sociology, also from Oklahoma. At OU he worked as a learning specialist, primarily with at-risk students, and as a housing manager with Oklahoma's Division of Student Affairs. Matthew found his way to Oklahoma from California and has enjoyed living in the South. He and his family enjoy hanging out at the lake and participating in athletic events., 214.768.4008