Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Susan Marine


First generation college students, who are increasing in number in higher education, often lack support and face barriers in their educational pursuit ultimately affecting retention (Gofen, 2009). This qualitative study investigated the experiences of students involved in Generation Merrimack, a program designed for first generation college students as a career and professional support initiative. The study sought to explore how to improve Generation Merrimack from students’ experiences and perspectives. Interviews were conducted to collect data from current students, who were asked questions about challenges, supports, and involvement in Generation Merrimack. The findings, which will be used to aid in the recommendation of the yearly plan, summer bridge program, implementation of outing and events, and increasing visibility on campus. These findings will inform the planning of workshops, career preparation and exploration, implementation of a Professional Mentor Exchange, and more contact from faculty and staff. Overall, interviewed participants expressed an interest in more contact from faculty and staff, more workshops, connections with alumni, and career development. Recommendations for Generation Merrimack include a yearly plan that would ideally be implemented in the 2015- 2016 school year. Along with recommendations designed to benefit the overall experience for all first generation college students on Merrimack’s campus.