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First Gen Institute Carries On in Virtual Environment

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Twenty-five high school students completed the second annual Arkansas Tech University First Generation Institute through distance technology June 10-11.

The program, which was developed by and is administered by the ATU Division of Student Affairs, provided 2020 participants with information about the process of becoming a college student, finding success in a university setting and persisting to graduation.

"As we moved the First Generation Institute into a virtual environment, we wanted to make sure that our content was still providing an opportunity to engage students in learning from each other and from ATU students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Brett Bruner, dean of student engagement at ATU. "In addition, we were able to reimagine some of our sessions based on feedback from the 2019 institute participants. We were intentional to add in new sessions that focused on the personal growth of student participants, including how to ask questions, make friends and try new things as a college student."

ATU First Generation Institute completers for 2020 represented communities such as Clarksville, Danville, Fayetteville, Forrest City, Jefferson, Lowell, Monticello, Mountainburg, Rogers, Russellville, Siloam Springs, Timbo, Ward, Memphis, Tenn., and Queen City, Texas.

"My hope is that our 2020 First Generation Institute participants were able to realize that college and Arkansas Tech University are within their reach as they pursue a college degree," said Bruner. "Students were able to learn what they can do with majors in each of the academic colleges. They began to understand how to apply to and finance college. They explored what a day in the life of a college student is like. They strengthened their public speaking, critical thinking and problem solving skills as they participated in the 'Issues to Action' virtual competition. Ultimately, I hope they learned that Arkansas Tech University remains committed to supporting them as they prepare to graduate from high school and pursue a college education."

Visit www.atu.edu to learn more about Arkansas Tech University.