First Generation Students

First Generation Students are resilient and motivated to forge the path to education. 

Students talk casually while sitting in chairs.

Are you a first generation student?

First generation students are students whose parents, caregivers, or chosen family did not attend post secondary education. First generation students are trailblazers, forging a new education path for themselves and for generations to come. 

At UCalgary, first generation students can access a variety of supports to help them navigate their unique academic challenges and enhance their individual strengths. Find more details about how to access first generation supports below!


What supports can I access?

The First Generation team strives to offer inclusive, holistic supports for first generation students. 

Academic Support

First Generation students can meet with our dedicated Academic Development Specialist for support with goal setting, learning and study skills, time management, and more. 

Learn more about Academic Support

Wellbeing Support

First Generation Student programs offers wellbeing support appointments for first generation students. Students can meet with a wellbeing support advisor or attend an event to learn more about balancing academics, transition to university, and wellbeing resources. 

Coming soon!

Exploratory Advising

Making decisions about your academic career can be daunting, especially if you're not sure what options are available. The first generation team has two dedicated exploratory advisors available to help students meet their academic and career goals. 

Learn more about exploratory advising


The transition to university is both exciting and stressful, but you don't have to take in on alone. Consider joining our First-in-Family mentorship program to connect with peers, learn about resources, and build your network. 

First-in-Family Mentorship

Meet the First Generation Team

The First Generation team is a small group of staff that works together to support a variety of student needs. Learn more about us below!

Dan is an Exploratory Advisor for First Generation students and joined the Student Success Centre after working for several years in Admissions and Recruitment and as an Academic Advisor in the Faculty of Arts. He attended the University of Guelph-Humber where he completed a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Guelph and a Diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion from Humber College. Dan enjoys talking to students about their interests and helping them find a degree program that suits them and will allow them to pursue their passion and reach their goals. He also thrives on helping students understand the pathway and requirements to be admissible to their program of interest. Outside of work Dan is a very active person and spends his spare time running, playing sports with friends, and hiking and camping in the mountains with his dog, Shadow.

Mariann worked as both a writing tutor and academic strategist before taking on the role of coordinator for First Generation Student Programs. Mariann is especially interested in supporting students as they navigate the transition to university and the "hidden curriculum" that first generation students often experience in university. When she’s not working with students, Mariann enjoys knitting sweaters, tending to her house plants, and spending time with her four-legged family members.

Tori has a background in education and counselling. Originally from Vancouver, Tori completed her Bachelor of Arts in History and English, along with her Bachelor of Education at the University of British Columbia. She taught English, Drama and Career Education in British Columbia, England and China for over a decade before earning her Master of Education in Counselling Psychology, also at UBC. Tori understands how exciting and challenging the university journey can be and enjoys supporting students in navigating these challenges and improving their understanding of themselves. As Wellbeing Advisor for First Generation Students, Tori’s goal is to empower students with the resources, skills and tools they need to reach their full potential at school and in other areas of life. In her free time, Tori loves to travel, garden, dance and make pottery.  

Lisa embarked on her academic journey fueled by a desire to serve those around her and empower others to lead a positive life. Lisa holds a Masters of Counselling degree in Educational Psychology, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology with Honours both at the University of Calgary. As an Academic Advisor for prospective and current first-generation students, she provides advising and wayfinding support and aims to offer student-centered resources and be a place where students can feel comfortable asking questions and learn more about strategies and resources that support their learning and success at university. Her goal is to help students define their academic interests and aptitudes, and clarify their academic goals through learning more about their passions, interests, hobbies and strengths.  Outside of work, Lisa enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, playing sports such as dodgeball and volleyball, and exploring new foodie spots!

As an Academic Development Specialist, Tram helps students, especially those who are the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education in Canada, to create effective learning strategies that enhance their study habits and enable them to achieve their academic aspirations. She has a Bachelor of Education in English language from the HCMC University of Education in Vietnam, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration, focusing on educational leadership and school effectiveness, from the University of Saskatchewan. As a certified career development professional, Tram used to work at Career Services centres at the University of Saskatchewan, Mount Royal University, and local not-for-profit organizations. Besides work and studies, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing board games, eating good food and trying new recipes.

As a first-in-family student, you don’t have a family member to show you the ways. However, you will quickly realize everyone in the university is probably just as overwhelmed as you are. Remember that you do not have to figure it out all by yourself and that help is one email or conversation away.

Aayushmathi Ashok

First Generation Science Student

News and articles

UCalgary celebrates inaugural First-Generation Networking Night

Students in First-in-Family Program find community and connection with peers, campus community and hear from 1st-generation groundbreakers

The Power of Determination

Four steps to help make your goals a reality.

Academic Triumphs and Challenges

Tales of First-in-Family Students in Canada

Food Insecurity and Campus Resources

A Guide for UCalgary Students

Managing Setbacks: A Stepping Stone to Success

While setbacks can be a source of stress, they can also be an opportunity to learn, grow, and get better.

Putting the "Self" in Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy is the act of intentionally speaking up for your wants, needs, and rights. This includes pursuing necessary support and asking for what you need in your journey.

Featured Resources

Browse our selection of resources created specifically for First Generation students.

Person standing next to giant textbooks, holding an oversized pencil.

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