First-Gen Student Support Summit

The 2023 Summit will take place on March 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Summit, which will feature both virtual and in-person components, will be an opportunity for participants to share best practices, network with one another, and cultivate a community of practice across the University. The Summit aims to prominently feature the voices of first-generation students, whose firsthand perspectives can inform efforts to support and advocate for this student population. The 2023 First-Gen Student Support Summit will focus on the theme of mentorship.


Want to host an in-person viewing event? Find out how HERE.


Media Kit
(intended for Penn State communications staff)


The Summit will be headlined by keynote speaker Adriana Lacy, a 2018 Bellisario College of Communications graduate who was actively involved during her time on campus. Lacy is now a freelance product management and audience strategist, digital and audience engagement editor at Harvard, and journalism professor at Brandeis University. She is co-founder of Journalism Mentors, an organization dedicated to opening doors in the journalism industry for historically marginalized populations. Her work with Journalism Mentors earned her a spot on the latest Forbes 30 Under 30 list. She holds a master of science degree in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in African American studies and journalism from Penn State.

The Summit will include an in-person kickoff breakfast at University Park, which will feature a viewing of Lacy’s virtual keynote address, followed by a facilitated discussion. The breakfast will be hosted in Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center; doors open at 8 a.m. and Lacy's keynote will begin at 8:30 a.m. Participants also can view the keynote address and participate in the discussion through the conference platform, Whova. Additional in-person events and gatherings are being planned across the commonwealth and will be announced as they are confirmed. Following breakfast, virtual sessions will occur throughout the day on Whova.

The Summit will include a second keynote in the afternoon from Dr. Jerod Stapleton, an internationally recognized leader in the field of skin cancer and melanoma prevention research. Stapleton is a first-generation college graduate and associate professor of health, behavior and society in the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky. He obtained his Ph.D. in biobehavioral health from Penn State in 2010 and has over 80 peer-reviewed publications. Stapleton is a strong advocate for mentorship as a critical component of first-generation student success.  

Last year's Summit brought together over 330 Penn State faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate and undergraduate students who share a commitment to first-generation student success. The Summit allowed participants to share best practices, network, and cultivate a community of practice across the University. The Summit featured a wide range of topics and amplified first-generation student voices. Click here for the 2022 agenda and recorded content from the inaugural summit.