Celebrating First Generation Graduates

Miri Skolnik, Assistant Dean, Student Support Services, UAAP

Graduation day is a significant milestone for everyone, but for a subset of the MIT population, getting their degree has special meaning. Luis Juarez For those MIT students who are the first generation in their family to graduate from college, and in some cases, the first one ever to go to college, Commencement represents breaking new ground in the history of their families.

To honor these students’ accomplishments, as well as the sacrifices and contribution of their families, the First Generation Project hosted a special Commencement Day reception. The hour-long reception provided the opportunity for students and their families to come together and be recognized while also giving back.

Victoria Okuneye


The students were invited to be photographed and, in some cases, filmed and interviewed. These images of the students in caps and gowns, celebrating with their families, will be used to inspire and encourage current and aspiring first generation MIT students. With grandmothers, grandfathers and young children in tow, many took time out of their busy Commencement Day schedule just to be photographed and to convey the message: “You can do it too. This will be you one day”.


Gonzalo Guajardo Rogelio Alejandro Lopez