Ram Fam Monthly Newsletter


February 12 issue

Message from the President

Amondo Clayton is a senior computer science major enrolled in WCU’s accelerated bachelor of science to master of science program. He has two minors – one in finance; the other in white-collar crime, and also is earning a certificate in computer security. The future looks bright for Clayton and he credits this in part to the strong support he has always received from his parents.

“Even though my parents did not attend college, they pushed my brother and me to strive higher and higher,” says Clayton. “They always had the ‘What’s next attitude?’ When it was time to apply to college, my parents went on countless college tours, information sessions, and parents’ nights with me.”

But when Clayton arrived at West Chester, he found that adjusting to college can be more challenging when your parents haven’t been through the same experience. He couldn’t ask them about their majors or how to juggle co-curricular and academic demands, or myriad other concerns.

Because of the unique needs of Clayton and other first-generation students, WCU has created the West Chester First’s program, which is now in its third year. West Chester First’s provides first-generation students a forum in which to interact, find friends, network with professionals inside and outside the University, and learn about career development opportunities. Activities are currently taking place virtually and have included everything from social media contests to a trivia night for first-gens and their families.

A brand-new opportunity for first-generation students just kicked off – the WCU chapter of the Tri-Alpha Honor Society inducted its first members earlier this month. With chapters on campuses nationwide, the society promotes academic excellence and provides leadership development to first-generation students.

Devan Zgleszewski, associate director of New Student Programs, serves as an advisor to the honor society and is pleased to see first-generation programming expand.

“I was a first-generation college student myself. I find it especially important for WCU to celebrate and support this unique population of students,” says Zgleszewski. “When I was attending college, I remember feeling isolated. WCU has been a great place where faculty, staff, and student leaders build relationships and guide first-generation students through their college experience.”

Co-advisor Amy Pajewski is a University librarian who says her own experience as a first-generation student was, at times, difficult. “Our goals are to recognize and support our first-gen students, and celebrate their accomplishments,” she says. “I feel incredibly proud of the work we’re doing at West Chester to advance first-gen student success initiatives.”

I encourage you to learn more about West Chester First’s and the Tri-Alpha Honor Society.


Chris Fiorentino, Ph.D.

President, West Chester University