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You First at VCU

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

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Fall 2020 You First Presents video recordings

Overview of You First
September 10, 2020

Elizabeth Bambacus, Ph.D., Student Engagement and Summer Studies Administrator, discusses programs, opportunities, and support for VCU’s first-gen students. Includes an overview of the peer mentoring program and the student organization. 

Translation, Please! Decoding College Lingo
September, 17, 2020

In this interactive discussion, Denisha Scott, formerly the Altria Scholars Progress Coach, explores the impact that college terminology can have on first-generation students and focuses on solutions for a better understanding of the language. There can be many obstacles in college; the language of higher education does not have to be one.

How to be Successful in Online Classes
September 22, 2020

In this workshop led by Kim Case, Ph.D., Director of Faculty Success, and Benita Regusters, Academic Coach, students learn about organizational methods, self-motivation, and ways to feel more connected. The speakers also share some of their experiences of being first-gen. 

His Crazy Plan Worked: How a First-Gen Student Put Himself Through College
September 29, 2020

Tim Bajkiewicz, Ph.D., associate professor of broadcast journalism in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, talks about moving himself across the country to work and live on his own hoping to someday go to school--and how it actually happened.

How to Connect with Professors
October 8, 2020

In this workshop, led by Daphne Rankin, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success, participants learn techniques for communicating with professors, including how to structure that first "office hours" visit. Ever feel like you're intruding on their time? You're actually not! Learn how connecting with your professors can begin a lifetime of support.

Navigating Opinion During an Election Year and Beyond
October 15, 2020

Jake Khoury, instructor of Focused Inquiry, discusses the difficulty of truly considering ideas and perspectives other than your own and meaningfully engaging people who hold these contrary ideas and perspectives. This talk hopes to remind you of the significance of considering diverse perspectives while giving you strategies for thoughtfully engaging the ideas of other people.

Making the Most of Academic Advising Appointments
October 19, 2020

Tanya Wineland, Academic Advisor, School of Business, and Nicolette Zbell, Academic Advisor, Wilder School, discuss how you can create an advising relationship to help you discover, dream about, and design your college path. You'll acquire practical tools and tips for making the most of your appointments.

First-Gen and the 2020 Upheaval: Prioritizing Our Mental Health
October 22, 2020

Myriam Kadeba, Interim Director, OMSA, and Senior Staff Clinician, University Counseling Services, discusses the reasons and ways to make your mental health a priority this year. She also talks about how you can find your motivation again and shares her own experiences as a first-gen graduate. 

Stop It: You’re Not Actually an Imposter
October 29, 2020

Sharon Zumbrunn, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Education, explores how higher education is the perfect ecosystem for breeding imposter syndrome dragons, and she offers strategies for slaying your own personal imposter syndrome dragon. Many first-gen students feel like double-dealing tricksters, wondering, “Do I really belong here?” We’re talking about smart people! So why do so many first-geners have impostery beliefs? Discover this answer and more. 

Finding and Maintaining Motivation
November 18, 2020

Although intended for the end-of-semester motivational slow down, this workshop is relevant at any point along the college journey. Kelly O’Connor, counselor education graduate student, discusses where motivation comes from and what it looks like, tips and ideas for staying motivated, ways to overcome burnout, and resources for VCU students. 

Navigating Family Dynamics and Finding Support
November 19, 2020

This workshop was led by Leslie Cohen-Gee, Assistant Professor, Focused Inquiry, and Lynanne Jamison Yndestad, New Student and Family Programs. Having conversations with family about life in college can be challenging as a first-gen student whether you are returning home for break or discussing the ups and downs of online learning from home. Learn how to navigate some of these difficult conversations and get some pro tips for finding support. 

You First Presents: Welcome Back!
February 4, 2021
There’s lots of exciting things happening with You First this spring! Come discover how you can get connected and find support--even online.


You First Presents: Stacking the Deck in Your Favor for a Successful Semester
February 9, 2021
College is tricky enough to navigate without the additional anxiety of a pandemic, virtual learning, and civil and political unrest. Learn from Bernadette Snyder how to manage the effects of these stressors while remaining motivated and focused on your studies so you can come out on top this semester with tips from the Division for Academic Success.


You First Presents: Understanding Financial Aid and the Student Financial Management Center
February 16, 2021
Description: Financial aid can be baffling! Learn the ins and outs from Ka Toya Wagner, director of the Student Financial Management Center (SFMC), and discover how to use the SFMC.


You First Presents: Getting Your First Place--Leasing 101
February 26, 2021
In this workshop, Lisa Mathews-Ailsworth walks you step-by-step through the process of finding and then renting your first apartment. You’ll learn about deposits, leases, budgets, tenant/landlord rights, and much more.


You First Presents: Life After Graduation--What to Expect as a First-Generation Professional
March 4, 2021
Angela Bartee and Devin Bowers discuss their transitions from college to the professional world and provide success tips. Topics include family, finances, mental health, the overachiever complex, grief, an endless supply of resources, and more.


You First Presents: A First-Gen Graduate’s Experience with Internships and Co-ops
March 11, 2021
Hear Amy Miller, Ed.D., discuss her experiences with internships and co-ops and provide advice on how to use them as strategic networking opportunities.


You First Presents: The Intersection of FG and BIPOC Identities
March 15, 2021
Academic advisor Gerron Scott discusses a few of the many additional identities first-gen students have. Join Gerron for a look at how those identities can be developed and nurtured to help ensure the success of first-generation students.


You First Presents: Networking Techniques
March 22, 2021
Maggie Tolan, Ed.D., facilitates a panel of first-gen graduates who have landed meaningful careers. They discuss how they earned their success through hard word work in college and pushing themselves to make important connections. This talk include practical advice on how to develop your networking skills and use those skills to the best of your advantage.


You First Presents: Between Two Worlds--The Ethical Costs to My “American Dream”
April 1, 2021
Ching-Yu Huang, Ph.D., and Caimdyn Stewart discuss the ethical costs inherited from the journey to upward mobility, including relationships with family and friends, community ties, our self-identities, and the trade-offs that are often neglected in the traditional narrative of “success.” Listen to this conversation on acknowledging these ethical costs and further accepting them as part of the journey.


You First Presents: Curating your Curiosity--Getting Involved with Research
April 6, 2021
Curious about what it means to do research? Ibrionke Lawal, Ph.D., and Traci Wike, Ph.D., will explore various questions about getting involved with research at VCU. Learn about different types of research, how to connect with faculty doing research, and how to get involved in a cool research project of your own!


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