Despite these challenges, first-generation students are often some of the highest achieving students, holding leadership positions on campus, participating in public service and volunteer opportunities, winning nationally competitive scholarships and serving as role models for current and prospective students.

“It is certainly never easy to be the first to do something – being the trailblazer,” said Dallas Doane, Ed.D., TRIO Student Support Services director. “But first-generation students bring with them a variety of backgrounds and experiences, tenacity and a goal-oriented mindset that make them ideal college students.”

From completing award-winning undergraduate research to becoming a leader at one of the state’s largest health care providers, USD’s first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni are breaking barriers and going on to make a difference in the world.

Read the inspiring stories of current students, an alumnus and campus leaders who share how their experiences as first-generation students have motivated them to make a difference.

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