First Generation College Students are Trailblazers

Shakima ClencyHello, my name is Shakima M. Clency and I serve as the Associate Dean of Students for Student Empowerment and Director of First-Generation and Low-Income Student Support. In this capacity, I work collaboratively with colleagues across campus to increase access and support for first-generation college students, those who come from families in which neither parent or guardian has obtained a four-year college degree, to ease the college transition, foster community, and connect students with resources to support their academic and personal success.

This year, close to 15% of the students in the class of 2024 self-identify as first-generation college students and I am excited to see the many ways they will use their unique talents, skills and knowledge to enhance discussions in the classrooms, engage in undergraduate research, lead student organizations and contribute to the Cornell student experience.

As you embark on your college search journey, I encourage you to explore many institutions and evaluate the strength and depth of their academic programs and opportunities available for you to apply your knowledge through engagement in substantive research and hands-on application. Additionally, consider the institutional resources available to help you explore your various identities, engage with the local community and the opportunities available for you to build a strong network filled with proud alumni, supportive faculty and innovative business leaders.

I invite you to learn more about Cornell Engineering and the many opportunities available to our students. May your senior year and the college search process be filled with many memorable moments and allow you to learn so much about yourself and your academic interests.

~Shakima M. Clency, Associate Dean of Students for Student Empowerment and Director of First-Generation and Low-Income Student Support