Welcome to the the First Things First project, a test in “virtual” mentorship. This idea, an evolution of UCI’s First-Generation Faculty Initiative, is designed to help first-gen students overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic. This new virtual mentorship program pairs two incoming UCI first-gen students with first-gen faculty members for a year-long, social-media-distributed conversation about the transition to university life. The goal of First Things First is to help UCI’s entire first-gen population, as well as first-gen students throughout higher education, build a sense of community—even in this remote college environment.


First Things First

Final First Things First Conversations

To commemorate the year-long First Things First virtual mentorship project, our first-gen students and their faculty mentors sit down for their final conversations. Together, each pair reflects on the school year and looks forward to the return of in-person...

What To Expect

Each week, the two freshmen students (selected through a competitive application process) will record a video responding to a prompt provided by their faculty mentors. The prompts will encourage the students to share their unique impressions, experiences and insights on a range of topics related to their experiences as a first-gen, first-year student. Then, faculty mentors will respond with their own video, offering advice, sharing strategies and reflecting on their own similar experiences. The video dialogue aims to reach a wide community of UCI first-gen students and to help them feel recognized, understood and encouraged as they confront the challenges of their new remote learning environment.

During Weeks Five and Ten, the faculty and students will meet face-to-face via Zoom. These video calls will invite more in-depth conversations between mentor and mentee. Through the process of creating both individual and collaborative videos, faculty and students will establish rapport, get to know each other and strengthen their connections.