Blazing the Trail | Being the First

April 13-15, 2018

I’m excited for the inaugural 1stGenYale alumni conference, and for your making this possible. I’m grateful for the energetic leadership of all the Yale Alumni Trailblazers. The keynote speakers will be inspiring, and the conference promises to unite the entire community. ☙ Best,
Marvin Chun, Yale College Dean

Inaugural 1stGenYale Alumni Conference

April 13-15, 2018

Our alumni team is creating the inaugural 1stGenYale conference on campus. This will be the first time that we come together as a new alumni shared identity & interest group to celebrate who we are being first! Alumni from diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds from all schools and years will connect with each other, share our stories, and develop meaningful friendships to continue well after the conference is over.

Tickets & Sponsorship

Program highlights

1st Gen Yale alumni
share their journeys
Being the First

❖ Welcome address, luncheon and dinner keynotes by alumni leaders in their fields
❖ Faculty-led discussions on overcoming challenges: Imposter Syndrome and Navigating Two Worlds
❖ Alumni career panels in Arts, Non-Profit/Public Service,  STEM  and Entreprenueurs
❖ Power networking
❖ Student panel: Campus Life Today for Students Being First, followed by an alumni & students reception
❖ Alumni reception and dinner
❖ Sunday morning discussion on next steps

Keynote speakers

Marta Moret

Marta Moret ’84 MPH
Reflections on Being First

Marta Elisa Moret is president of Urban Policy Strategies, a New Haven-based consulting firm that conducts research and assessment in public health. UPS evaluates the impact of community-based interventions in areas such as HIV/AIDS, childhood obesity, substance abuse, and cardiovascular diseases. UPS uses evidence-based approaches to enhance the capacity of African-American, Latino, and Native American community organizations to implement successful disease prevention programs. This work has served as a model for community-academic partnerships in addressing public health issues facing underserved families and children.

Previously, Ms. Moret was the deputy commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Social Services, vice president for program at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and program director at Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. Ms. Moret is on the board of Women’s Health Research at Yale; is a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy and the Eastern Evaluation Association; has served Yale as a member of the Yale Alumni Association’s Board of Governors; and was assistant director and a fellow of the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy (now the Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy). She earned her master of public health degree from the Yale School of Public Health in 1984.

Marta Moret

Peggy Kuo ’85 BA
Being the First, But Not the Last

Peggy Kuo was sworn in as United States Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of New York in 2015. Judge Kuo came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was three years old and grew up in New York City and New Jersey. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988, studied in Germany as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Federal Chancellor Fellow, and is the first lawyer in her family.

Her multi-faceted legal career includes positions as Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (the largest municipal tribunal in the country); Chief Hearing Officer for the New York Stock Exchange; counsel with the law firm of WilmerHale, and law clerk to the Honorable Judith W. Rogers on the D.C. Court of Appeals.

She also served for twelve years as a prosecutor, first as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC., then with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Criminal Section, and finally at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where she prosecuted the first international war crimes trial focused on mass rape and slavery as crimes against humanity. The trial was featured in the documentary series “Women, War and Peace”

David Thomas

David Thomas '78 BA, ’84 MA, ’86 PHD
Lessons from an Improbable Journey

David Thomas is President of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior, he was H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His research addresses issues related to executive development, cultural diversity in organizations, leadership and organizational change. He recently served as a professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he served as dean from 2011 to 2016.

During his tenure as dean, he created a culture committed to creating transformational educational experiences that prepare students to become principled and globally minded leaders poised to serve both business and society.

He joined Georgetown McDonough in 2011 following a two-decade career at Harvard Business School. While there Thomas enhanced academic and professional opportunities for the school’s undergraduate and graduate students, including a curriculum redesign and expansion of career management activities for MBA students and the addition of the Global Business Experience and an Office of Professional Development for undergraduates. He also increased the diversity of faculty and staff, launched new research initiatives and increased research funding, grew Executive Education program revenues by 400 percent, and grew the school’s endowment and increased philanthropic giving, ending the school’s capital campaign $30 million above its $100 million fundraising goal.

Partnering with the Washington, D.C., community while at Georgetown McDonough, Thomas was a member of the Federal City Council, and in 2014, the Washington Business Journal recognized him as a top Minority Business Leader.
Thomas received a bachelor’s degree, as well as masters and doctoral degrees in Organizational Behavior, from Yale University. He also holds a master’s in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. He currently is a member of the Board of Governors for the American Red Cross, the Board of Directors of DTE Energy, and the Estoril Conferences Advisory Board. He also is an industry advisor for Brightwood Capital Advisors.


STEM panel


Joseph Cerro ’89 BS

Joseph Cerro led the bioinformatics and DNA sequencing groups at Bayer, created some of the healthcare industry’s first mobile apps and social media initiatives, won an Albert Einstein Award, led a team of quantitative biologists into the world of professional sports and entertainment data analytics, designed technology strategies for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, served as acting CIO for a major accounting firm, and helped private equity clients to lease limousines in Brooklyn, cultivate medical marijuana in Massachusetts, and make matzo in New Jersey. Joe promises to reveal the secret Yale STEM skills that tie all these things together.

Karin Kricorian ’94 BA | PhD

Karin is the Director, Management Science and Integration at the Walt Disney Company. She leads a team that provides analytics consultant services to business units across Disney. She specializes in marketing and content analytics, focusing on Disney’s film and television businesses. Her work centers on the financial assessment of marketing effectiveness and creative content performance in increasingly complex distribution networks.
Previously, Karin was Director, Consumer Insight, Measurement and Analytics at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, leading consumer and operations research for Disney’s U.S. vacation

Maria V. Lopez-Bresnahan ’85 BA | MD, MBA

Dr. Maria Lopez-Bresnahan is a senior biopharmaceutical executive with more than 15 years of industry experience developing new drugs from early phases through post-approval lifecycle management. She is currently VP of Clinical Research, Neuroscience at Alkermes, Inc. She served previously at Vertex Pharmaceuticals as VP of Neurology Clinical Development and at Pfizer Inc. where she was Head of Neuromuscular Clinical Research in the Rare Disease Research Unit and as Therapeutic Area Head for Neuroscience in the Medicines Development Group leading a team responsible for strategy and planning of drug development in neurology and psychiatry.

Dr. Lopez-Bresnahan held leadership positions at Merck Serono, where she was responsible for global development of CNS drugs for registration and commercialization. She also served as SVP and Global Head for Medical and Scientific Affairs at inVentiv Health Clinical, where she led subspecialty medical teams executing drug development programs for pharmaceutical clients.

Dr. Lopez-Bresnahan received a BA from Yale University, MS from Georgetown University, an MD from New York University School of Medicine, and an MBA from Northeastern University. A board certified neurologist, she completed her neurology residency and a fellowship in neuroimmunology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, where she served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology. She maintains an affiliation as neuroscientist with the Massachusetts General Hospital.


Mark Richards ’81 MusM

I am originally from upstate New York but changed direction mid-way thru high school to attend boarding school in Connecticut. After a year and a half I attended Juilliard Pre-Collage at Lincoln Center including playing in the orchestra. I then chose to attend Music School at SUNY Purchase and studying with my Juilliard teacher, Co-Principal of the New York Philharmonic and the Principal Trumpet of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. From there I entered into a Masters Program at Yale University with the School of Music. We toured Europe and I soloed with the Spoleto Orchestra.

At this point my compass was beginning to ask questions so with no money available I left for Iceland to teach music in a fishing village – Olafsvik. I then took a job on a commercial fishing ship for 6 months (6 days a week). While re-entering the US I knew I needed a better road map! I changed fields, entered a 6 month computer school and started over – augh!! More to add here – I have exceeded my allocation.

Another version:

The founder and CEO of eRichards Consulting has worked in the computer consulting business for more than twenty five (25) years. In that period he has consulted to more than 25 Fortune 500 firms in a multitude of roles from CTO to developer. His passion for the industry runs high and has allowed him to accumulate deep technical expertise across many technologies. His expertise is focused on open systems, and includes extensive knowledge of the web channel and the business growth triggers that drive revenue through this channel. His understanding of many technologies and disparate systems allows him to go into organizations and pinpoint where problems exist and prescribe the best solution to address those problems within the context of the client’s environment.

Four years on Wall Street culminated in Bankers Trust investing two million dollars in venture capital for Mark and five other individuals to start a consulting firm which resulted in the creation of such essential products as Visual Lan Probe for Sybase, a tool which debugs database applications.

Mark holds degrees in Music from S.U.N.Y at Purchase and Yale University


Esther Zirbel ’93 PhD | MBA

Esther is a first generation high school graduate, born to German parents who migrated to Turkey during the post-World-War-II years. At the age of thirteen she realized that education could be the key out of poverty. She fought to attend high school, secretly applied to college, and left when she turned eighteen. She attended college in England and had to catch up in every way. Her eventual success gave her the drive to go further and earn an award-winning PhD in astrophysics from Yale. As a faculty member, she loved to see her students’ eyes sparkle with excitement when they came to understand science concepts. After completing a dozen graduate level courses in education, she impacted more students by training K-12 teachers. To bridge the gap between what students learn in school and what skills are needed by corporate employers, she obtained an MBA. Now she is coaching professors in teaching and learning. Her goal is to ensure that students of all backgrounds receive the best possible education, are well prepared for the 21st century workforce, have a chance to live full lives, are motivated to make the world a better place, and pass on what they have learned to future generations.

Non-Profit/Public Service Panel


Esther Addo '07 BA

Esther Addo is the Director of Regional Operations at KIPP Massachusetts where she is responsible for overseeing operations across KIPP’s public charter schools in Lynn and Boston. She is a cohort member of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, working towards a Master’s in Educational Leadership. Previously, Esther was a manager at Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy & Operations practice, where she focused on advising nonprofit and corporate clients on strategic issues. Prior to that, Esther worked in corporate strategy for a major media organization. Esther earned an MBA from Columbia Business School, where she focused on Social Entrepreneurship, and a BA in Psychology from Yale University – Branford College ’07. LinkedIn 


Regina Bain ’98 MFA, ’01

Regina is the Associate Vice President of The Posse Foundation. She is a non-profit leader, organizational strategist, artist, writer and facilitator. She earned her B.A. in Theater and African-American Studies from Yale University and her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Learn more about Regina on LinkedIn  or on Twitter


Jack F. Callahan, Jr. ’80 BA

Jack F. Callahan Jr., was appointed Yale’s inaugural Senior Vice President for Operations in June 2016. Mr. Callahan, who earned a B.A. in Administrative Sciences from Yale (Davenport College) in 1980 and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1986, has held leadership positions at a number of major global organizations. He began his career with McKinsey and Company, and then held roles of increasing responsibility at General Electric and PepsiCo. In 2006 he became Chief Financial Officer of the Dean Foods Company where he served until 2010. Most recently, Mr. Callahan was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of S&P Global (formerly The McGraw-Hill Companies) in New York City. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of MetroPCS, a telecommunications provider headquartered in Dallas and Crisil, a financial information company headquartered in Mumbai. Linkedin and


Lynn Hepburn ’95 BA

Lynn Hepburn is Chief Development Officer for Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.  Lynn leads the assessment, planning, and management of fund development activities to advance the organization’s mission and goals.  She joined Girls Inc. in 2006 as Director of Special Events and the following year was appointed Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving, where she focused on the identification, solicitation and stewardship of major donors before becoming Chief Development Officer in 2008. Prior to Girls Inc., Lynn spent ten years in the for-profit sector.  She lives in New York City. Linkedin


Aaaron Shipp ’96 BA

Aaron A. Shipp, PCC, is the Founder & CEO of Y-Apply, Inc., a national nonprofit dedicated to helping bright and talented public school students and their families with the application process to top-tier colleges and universities. He is also the Founder & CEO of The Ivy Edge, a college admissions consulting firm serving students and families across the globe as a trusted adviser to the college admissions process. Aaron has also been involved in several alumni initiatives over the years and is overjoyed to meet other first-gen Yalies this weekend who are blazing the trail!


Janna Wagner ’95 BA

Janna Wagner is co-founder and chief learning officer of All Our Kin, a nonprofit organization that trains, supports, and sustains early childhood educators in Connecticut and New York. Janna holds a B.A. in psychology from Yale (JE 1995) and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to her work at All Our Kin, Janna co-teaches a seminar on “Child Care, Society, and Public Policy” at Yale. Janna received the Yale Jefferson Award and was a Zero to Three Leadership Fellow. She is currently a Pahara Aspen Education Fellow and a Public Voices Fellow at Yale. LinkedIn and Twitter: jannamwagner


Paul Whyte ’92 BA

Paul A. Whyte is the Instructional Leadership Director for High Schools and Turnaround Schools in Waterbury Public Schools in Connecticut.  In this role, he supervises principals to assure proper management of schools and effective instruction in classrooms.  Prior to this role, Mr. Whyte was the principal of New Beginnings Family Academy, a public K-8 charter school, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mr. Whyte transitioned to the role of school leader in 2008. As principal, he has focused on building a culture of achievement and high expectations for students and staff. Under his leadership, NBFA scores on the Connecticut Mastery Test have improved dramatically, with NBFA achieving the most improvement among middle schools in the state. Prior to serving as the principal, Mr. Whyte oversaw the development of formative assessments, data driven decision making processes and a new teacher evaluation program. He raised over $1.1 million in grants for NBFA.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Whyte taught mathematics and ran a college readiness program at Park East High School in New York City. Besides traditional settings, Mr. Whyte has also focused on bringing sound educational practice to non-traditional education settings such as afterschool and summer programs. As an Echoing Green Fellow, Mr. Whyte created Young Voices Initiative, a comprehensive education and athletics program for 200 teenagers in New Haven, CT. YVI was based on two years of field research. He has been a New York Council of Urban Professionals (NYCUP) Fellow. NYCUP prepares emerging change agents to become powerful civic and public sector leaders.

Mr. Whyte holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Yale University and a Masters of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy (APSP) from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an Intermediate Administration and Supervision Certificate from Sacred Heart University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Urban Education Leaders Program (UELP).


Arts panel


J.C. Calderón ’92 MArch

J.C. Calderón is a registered architect who has practiced over 20 years and graduated with an MArch from Yale in 1992. He has been a delegate to the AYA Assembly for the past three years and is working with the School of Architecture to develop their Alumni Association.

He is the founder of Calderon Architecture & Design Studio P.C. which operates out of Beacon, NY and has built in New York City, the Hudson Valley and Colombia. In 2009 he spoke on the work of architect Rogelio Salmona at a graduate seminar at Yale led by Dean Sakamoto.

“I was fortunate enough to study architecture at Yale under Dean Thomas Beeby of Chicago and within an atmosphere of creativity and exploration. We learned that a successful building improves the lives of people not just by providing utility and space but through beauty and grace as well.”


Linda Chin ‘81 BA

Linda Chin is the Producing Artistic Director at Wheelock Family Theatre, a professional Equity theatre in Boston, MA that is one of the nation’s trailblazers of multicultural, intergenerational and inclusive casting. After graduating from Yale as an MB&B major and the Harvard School of Public Health, she worked in academic medical centers and non-profits for three decades. Linda is thrilled to be educating and nurturing future generations of theatre goers and theater artists and transforming lives through the arts.

Stuart Cohen ’70 BA

Stuart Cohen graduated Yale with a BA in psychology. For 25 years he worked as a professional photographer for commercial and editorial clients and has written books on photography and psychology. In the non-profit sector he served as head of a symphony orchestra, synagogue president and high school basketball coach. With Yale he has participated in several YaleGALE expeditions, the Yale Alumni Service Corps, and is currently working on a words and photographs recollection project for the Class of ’70’s upcoming reunion.

Cristina Gonzalez ‘94 BA | MA, MPhil, PhD

Cristina Cruz González has a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. in Art History from UT Austin, an M.Phil in Classics from Cambridge, and a PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago. She has worked for the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago and has held fellowships at the Getty Research Institute, the Newberry Library, and UCLA. Her writing has appeared in many journals, books, and exhibition catalogs. She is expert on early modern Spanish art and religion and is currently associate professor of art history at Oklahoma State University.
A charter member of the Yale Alumni Art League, Cristina has presented at Art Basel Miami and serves on the AYA Board of Governors. She is an active member of her local Yale club and interviews prospective Yalies with the Alumni Schools Committee. She is currently organizing a Yale Day of Service event for Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Peter M. Gordon ‘80 BA

Peter M. Gordon has over 35 years creating and curating content for platforms ranging from live theatre to digital video. As Director of Programming for Golf Channel he created programs and strategies that enabled it to grow from startup to a value over $1billion. He also worked at HBO, PBS, and NBC. Peter currently teaches Business of Film in Full Sail University’s Film Production MFA program. He earned a BA from Yale in 1980 and an MFA from Carnegie-Mellon in 1982. Peter served Yale as a Club President, Alumni Schools Committee Chairman, AYA Board of Governors member, and is Florida Regional Director for Yale Day of Service.

Entrepreneur panel


Porter Braswell ’11 BA

Porter Braswell is the CEO and co-founder of Jopwell, a technology platform that helps Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals unlock opportunities for career advancement.

Under Porter’s leadership, Jopwell has formed more than 100 partnerships with America’s leading companies and facilitated tens of thousands of connections between its community and customers. Jopwell’s partnerships span industries including finance, technology, healthcare, sports and publishing, among others, with notable partners such as Airbnb, BlackRock, Pinterest, The NBA, Spotify, and more.

Jopwell participated in Y Combinator’s summer 2015 class, garnering support and funding from notable investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Kapor Capital, Omidyar Network, Magic Johnson Enterprises, Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers, among others.

In 2017, Fast Company listed Jopwell as one of its “Most Innovative Companies” and named Porter to its list of “100 Most Creative People in Business.” Jopwell was also named one of Entrepreneur’s “100 Most Brilliant Companies” in 2017, and in 2016, Porter was recognized by both Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” and LinkedIn as a “Next Wave Top Professional Under 35.”


John Rice ‘88 BA

John Rice is the Founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow  (MLT), a national non-profit organization that equips underrepresented minorities with the playbook, coaching, and relationships required to become high-impact leaders in corporations, non-profits and entrepreneurial ventures. Serving 7000+ students and professionals nationwide, MLT is a leading source of minority talent at its blue-chip partner companies including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citi and Target as well as at the nation’s top MBA programs. John has been featured on CNN, the cover of Fortune, and was named one of Forbes top 30 social entrepreneurs in the world.

Prior to MLT, John was an executive with the National Basketball Association, where he served as managing director of NBA Japan and as director of marketing for Latin America. Before joining the NBA, John spent four years with the Walt Disney Company in new business development and marketing.

John serves on the Board of Trustees of Yale University, and he is a Director and Governance Committee Chair of Walker & Dunlop, a NYSE-traded real estate finance company. He was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commissions on Educational Excellence for African Americans and on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  He serves on a number of non-profit boards including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and venture philanthropy fund New Profit.

John received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BA with honors from Yale, where he was a three-year starter on the basketball team. He resides in the Washington DC area with his wife Andrea and two children, Mateo and Kiki.

Connect with John on Twitter  @MLTjohnrice and LinkedIn.


Danielle Kristine Toussaint ‘06 BA

Danielle Kristine Toussaint is a storyteller, strategist and social impact leader. She has been the writing pen behind op-eds and speeches for Huffington Post,, and TEDx. She is founder and CEO of She Thinks Purple, a strategic communications firm that helps mission-driven leaders and organizations leverage storytelling to create radical change in the world. In addition, she is a founding cohort member and facilitator for Tide Risers—a global yearlong cohort experience for women leaders. Danielle holds a B.A. in Political Science and African-American Studies from Yale University and a M.S. Ed from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.


Caroline Smith ’14 BA

Caroline Smith is the Co-founder and co-director of Collab New Havena small business, non-profit, and for-profit support program serving Connecticut entrepeneurs. They provide capital, mentorship, and other resources to entrepreneurs based in Connecticut.

Caroline a community organizer working with many others to build towards a vision of a more equitable, connected Yale-New Haven community.

She was the Co-Director of Marketing at SeeClickFix — a civic technology company that connects citizens with their local governments.

She founded New Haven Bike Month — an effort to build bicycle justice through neighborhood empowerment.

She was elected the Chair of the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team. She’s received the City of New Haven Individual Innovator Award, Yale Presidential Public Service Fellowship, and Yale Seton Elm-Ivy Award for her work.

Consider making a gift

Conference attendees, please consider making an additional gift to sponsor the event. Your gift will enhance the experience for all attendees. It also will support alumni who need financial assistance to attend the conference.

If you cannot attend, you can still provide a sponsorship to make this life-changing experience possible for our current students and alumni.

Click here to go to our Eventbrite page.  Then click the big green “Tickets” button. You will find four options for “Sponsors” just below the Event Tickets.


AQR Capital Management
Honest Tea

Girls, Inc.
LEDA (Leadership Enterprise for an Diverse America)
KIPP Schools
MLT (Management Leadership for Tomorrow)
New Haven Promise

Info | Volunteers

For more information about our upcoming conference or if you would like to help, email


Association of Yale Alumni
Yale College Dean’s Office
Graduate School of Arts and Science Dean’s Office
Office of Career Strategy
Careers, Life, and Yale
Association of Asian American Yale Alumni
Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance
Yale Black Alumni Association
Yale Latino Alumni Association
Yale Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae Association
Yale Graduate School Alumni Association
Yale Science and Engineering Association
Yale Veterans Association

connect | share | support

Mission-driven startup

We are Yale alumni who come from diverse backgrounds, including being 1st in our families or from underserved backgrounds to graduate from college or graduate school. We connect with each other to share our stories and have a positive impact on the lives of Yale students and alumni.

We celebrate diversity

1stGenYale is inclusive of all diversity: race, ethnicity, culture, gender, nationality, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, and family hardships.

How can alumni help?

❖ Organize career workshops and panel discussions on relevant topics to 1st Gen Alumni.
❖ Host an alumni gathering at your local Yale Club.
❖ Sponsor a Yale Day of Service site in your local community.
❖ Connect with the Office of Career Strategy to offer summer internships or full-time employment for Yale students.
❖ Be a mentor in the AYA Alumni & Students Pilot Mentoring Program.
❖ Share your life & career experiences with students through 1stGenYale networking programs held twice a year on campus.
❖ We are looking for alumni leaders to help us grow into a sustainable organization.
❖ Your ideas? Email us.

Alumni | a resource for students

Sharing our stories

By sharing similar experiences, alumni can provide valuable support to current students. Arriving at Yale, many of us 1st gen underserved alumni felt that we lacked informational, familial and financial support — causing us to feel isolated and alone. By telling our stories as former students and now professionals in diverse careers, we help students to know that they are not alone. We believe in them. We want them to know that they belong. We all belong to the Yale family.

Financial support opportunity

Kicking off our inaugural conference, April 13-15, 2018, you can make a difference on campus today!

Consider making a gift to the newly established Yale College Dean’s Student Assistance Fund to provide needed financial support for urgent or emergency needs. 

To support students in the Graduate and Professional Schools click here and select your school.

Mentoring opportunity

Working with the AYA, we are actively encouraging all alumni give back by volunteering to be mentors for current students through the Alumni and Students Pilot Mentoring Program. Both alumni and students can indicate 1st gen background if interested. Contact Stephen Blum ’74.


Mark your calendar. Join us at one of our annual events.

First Year Scholars | July

Working in partnership with the Office of Campus Life, our program invites alumni to spend the day with incoming Yale College students in the annual First-year Scholars program (FSY).  Students meet alumni, many for the first time, and learn how to navigate Yale and beyond. We celebrate our new friendships with a lemonade and cookie reception.

Yale Day of Service | May & throughout the year

Partnership and promotion of sites with Yale Day of Service. Initiated partnership in 2017 and promoted 10 sites nationwide.

AYA Assembly | November

Alumni & students get-togethers are held during the annual AYA Assembly in mid-November. The 2016 and 2017 events were co-sponsored with the (AYA) Alumni Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Discussions include career experiences, academic courses extracurricular activities and everything in between!

Initiated by an alumna, Yale College ’99 in November 2017, AYA Alumni Village pre-game 1stGenYale alumni get together table (alternating Harvard or Princeton games).

2018 News | 1stGenYale has an inaugural leader for Yale Day of Service!

 Yale alumni Gail Bent ’87 has agreed to serve as the 1stGenYale Chair for Yale Day of Service. Gail is a 1987 graduate from Yale and was the first generation in her family to attend college.  In this role she will help to promote sites for members of the 1stGenYale AYA shared interest group. Gail currently serves as the Regional Director for Yale Day of Service in Chicago. Thank you, Gail for your leadership.
For questions and community service site promotion, please email Gail at

Yale College student, ’21  —

After the 2017 Assembly mixer: “I feel what you are doing is important and is helping change the dynamic of first-generation students at this institution. I would love to help in any way I can!”

1vyG Conference at Yale | February 24-26, 2017

Hosted an All Schools’ Students & Alumni Networking Lunch, 1vyG Yale Conference, February 25, 2017 with 120 alumni from 18 colleges & universities and 400 representative students.

School of Art, ’82 —

“My life has been a series of unexpected events that have challenged me to be bold and persevere. While my childhood and teen years were not easy, my experience made me the fiercely resilient person I am today. My Yale education gave me the confidence and skills to rise to any challenge, for which I am grateful.”

Event videos

  • First-Year Scholars 2016
  • First-Year Scholars 2017
  • 1vyG Conference at Yale 2017

History   |   Press   |   Contact


Hearing concerns by students who felt a lack of belonging at Yale, several alumni who had similar experiences and others who wanted to help, thought they might be able to provide support. Initiated as a pilot in April 2015, 1stGenYale, is an emerging alumni volunteer-led Shared Interest Group (SIG) of the Association of Yale Alumni. It is a community within a community of Yale alumni who:

❖ Are among the first in their families to attend college or graduate school

❖ Come from underserved families

❖ Want to make a difference and give our experiences forward

As alumni from all schools in President Salovey’s One Yale, we are a family. By sharing our stories, we connect to each other and support students to help them navigate and take advantage of all of Yale’s resources, including its alumni.

Lise Chapman ’81 MBA, Co-Chair
Magda Vergara PhD, ’82, Co-Chair
Ben Bartolome ’16
Gail Bent ’87
Marv Berenblum ’56
Timeica Bethel ‘11
John Boak ’70
Renata Cesar ’79
Nick Chen ’79
Billy Cheung ’99
Stuart Cohen ’70
Elvira Duran ’04
Karin Kricorian PhD, ’94
Kristy Lamb ’12 PhD
Annie Lin ’09
Maria Lopez-Bresnahan ’78
Paul Lorem Aminathia ’15
Patricia Melton ’83
Aneesa Noorani ’16
Michael Protacio ‘13
Christopher Quander ’86
Andrew Richter ’74 MA, ’79 PhD
Lydia Serrano ’99
Danielle Kristine Toussaint ’06
Kristina Tremonti ‘11
Caroline Hsiao Van ‘79
Janna Wagner ’95
Esther Zirbel ’93 PhD