As a first-generation college student, Ann LaFave started out at SUNY Cobleskill before transferring to Cornell. Her transition from a “small, comfortable two-year college atmosphere to Cornell was a very shocking experience,” she said. Now assistant dean of academic programs and student success in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, LaFave ’90, M.P.S. ’12, is working to make that transition easier for today’s first-generation, underrepresented minority and other nontraditional CALS students.
A new program, the CALS Student Success Navigator Program, provides additional assistance to new first-year and transfer students and their families, and it aims to build a community of support to ensure academic, personal and professional success for students from historically excluded, under-resourced and nontraditional backgrounds. In CALS’ current undergraduate class, 23% of students are first-generation college students, 21% are recipients of federal Pell Grants for students from lower income families, and 27% identify as a race or ethnicity underrepresented in academia.