Blazing the Trail: Being the First

Listen to the alumni who attended the inaugural 1stGenYale Alumni Conference held in April of 2018.

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.

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.

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).

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.


Past events

Alumni Perspectives: 
Navigating Yale & Beyond

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Now in our third year, alumni joined us at the 2018 First-year Scholars at Yale. This summer program is designed specifically for incoming Yale College students from under-resourced backgrounds, many of whom are among the first in their families to attend college or graduate school. All Yale alumni are invited to participate. 

To prepare for their transition as Yale students, they live on campus for five weeks, explore campus life, sharpen their academic skills, and learn about Yale's resources, including alumni! 

fsy 2018 panel
fsy 2018 classroom
fsy 2018

By sharing similar backgrounds, we connect to each other with diverse cultural, socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and gender backgrounds from all classes and schools to have positive impact on the lives of our students. 

LOCATION | Yale campus
Time:  11:00am - 5:00pm

PROGRAM | Alumni welcome lunch, moderated alumni panel followed by student discussion groups, and networking reception.

COST | There was no charge

CO-SPONSORS | Yale College Dean’s Office and AYA Executive Director’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group


To feel the magic, take a look at last year's 2017 FSY video.

Additional Information Requested:  To facilitate networking with our students, we will distribute information to all participants in advance. Please provide a short description of yourself, including your Yale affiliation, career, contact information (optional), and interest to meet incoming Yale College FSY students — in no more than 8 sentences by July 10.
Contributions: 1stGenYale, an AYA Shared Interest Group, welcomes contributions from alumni and friends to support our programs. If you would like to make a gift, please send it to:  AYA Shared Interest Groups – 1stGenYale, 1201 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Thank you!
Special Support for Alumni Participants: We hope to have a small amount of donated funds available to support participation by alumni who are in mission-driven non-profit, public service, or graduate school. For possible support, please send your written request to no later than July 10, 2018.
Consent to use of Photographic Images:  By registering for, attending or participating in this event, you agree to the following: “I grant my permission to the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) and/or Yale University to photograph my image (and that of my minor guest (attendee(s) if permitted to attend) and the right to use and reproduce such images in all media, including digital media, for the purpose of promoting Yale University and AYA programs and events, and other purposes in accordance with Yale’s mission. I understand that I will have no approval rights with respect to the use of these images.”

Inaugural 1stGenYale Alumni Conference

April 14, 2018

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

Program Book

Click here to download a PDF of the Program Book for the event.

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
Connections between current students and alumni are more important than ever as our students transition from graduate school to building careers. I am enormously grateful to 1stGenYale for organizing what looks like an exciting and inspiring conference. I look forward to the inaugural meeting and many more to come. ☙ Best wishes, Lynn Cooley, Dean of the Graduate School

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 2016, 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