CSDI launches 1st Gen Blue Streaks


John Carroll University

Yub Kim hosting the 1st Gen Blue Streaks at JCU Tower Time

Taylor Anthony, Staff Reporter

This month, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion is kicking off “1st Gen Blue Streak,” the new program for first generation college students, faculty and staff at John Carroll University. This new initiative is led by CSDI Graduate Assistant, Yub Kim, who is currently working towards a master’s degree in clinical mental health and counseling.  

According to the National Association Student Personnel Administrators, one-third of all college students in the United States are first generation. Psychology Today finds that many first-generation students may face psychological problems such as family conflict, guilt, shame and anxiety in addition to academic challenges that may include a lack of preparation for college academics. 

“I believe that identifying faculty and staff members who were first generation to be visible on campus so that students can feel more of a sense of belonging. It is important to identify them because we can support them with assistance, resources they may need to navigate their school years” Kim told The Carroll News. 

This is the first year CSDI has a graduate assistant role specifically for first generation programming, which will allow for an increase of resources and events accommodating the needs of first-generation students. 

The Director of CSDI, Selen Zarrelli, looks forward to the relaunching and strives to continue bringing more awareness to first-generation students and provide them with the resources necessary to ensure success during their four years at JCU and beyond. However, before examining the program, it is important to know who is considered to be a first-generation student. 

“We define first-generation [students] as the first in their family to attend a college, maybe they are immigrant families that come to the United States and they are the first to attend college here. Some of the college students’ parents may have studied a long time ago and they went back to college, but things have changed, so we still consider them first generation,” said Zarrelli. 

Staff writer Taylor Anthony discusses 1st Gen Blue Streaks, a new program through CSDI (CSDI)

Although Kim is not the traditional definition of a first-generation college student, he is the first in his family to attend college in the United States. Both of his parents received their degrees in Korea and he later came to the United States by himself. 

Kim said, “being an immigrant and navigating school life alone made me realize the importance of extending the definition of first-generation students. The transition was hard, I felt accomplished overcoming the challenges, but sometimes I did feel alone trying to navigate all the aspects of being a foreign student alone in a foreign country.”

This is something that can be very difficult for students with this experience and they may lack the proper resources needed to ease their transition to higher education. Additionally, there are other components that may factor into a student’s identity and wellbeing. 

“If you think about being a first-generation student and putting it into the intersectionality of race, gender identity, sexuality and all the other minority identities into consideration, it can be very overwhelming for a first generation student to navigate school life.

It is important to understand students’ background and the multiple identities first generation students may withhold while also providing resourceful accommodations and listening to their needs. The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion will continue working to encourage and empower first-generation students at John Carroll. 

Be sure to keep a look out for upcoming 1st Gen Blue Streak events on Campus this month. Kim is working to collaborate with different departments and resources on campus to continue creating programs and resources for first generation students. 

For those wanting more information, there will be a 1stt Gen Squad Care meeting on November 17th open to all students and another panel luncheon with students, faculty and staff. More events to come in the month of December. For any questions about the program or the events, you can reach out to Yub Kim  via email at [email protected] or stop in CSDI located in the Lombardo Student Center room 202.