By Lauren Mar ’25
This spring, First Gen @ Scripps and Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) launched a new program series, Dine and Dialogue. The initial panel offered Scripps students the opportunity to get to know faculty and staff who identify as “first gen,” which generally refers to students who were the first in their family to attend college. While enjoying food from In-N-Out Burger, panelists and students discussed a variety of topics, including how to navigate “imposter syndrome” and how to ask a professor for support.
The panel was planned, hosted, and facilitated by Desiree Ross, assistant director of academic resources and services, and included participants from across the Scripps community. Attendees heard advice from Alyssa Castaneda, administrative assistant for academic resources and services; Andrea Aceituno, registration and records coordinator; Kassandra Destiny Casillas, assistant director of financial aid; Tressi Mehana Turkmany, assistant director of Study Abroad and Global Education (SAGE); and Marino Forlino, associate professor of Italian.
Ross says the panel was refreshing for students, faculty, and staff alike. “The students who attended were engaged and expressed that they wanted more opportunities to connect with other first-gen campus members in the future,” she says. “The dialogue left everyone involved feeling more empowered to continue building community and identifying campus support systems.”
“I think the panel was a wonderful space for the larger first-gen Scripps community to come together, share advice, and get to know each other better,” says Taylor Tsiamas ’24, a first-gen intern at SCORE, adding that it was helpful for members of the first-gen community to talk openly about their shared identity and the ways in which they could find support at Scripps. “I always appreciate meeting people who have already gone through the experiences of being a first-gen student. It definitely helps me feel more confident and capable!”