Rayan Semery-Palumbo ‘19, former Cultural Connections participant and counselor, created and hosted our inaugural event with Cultural Connections.
A pre-orientation program, Cultural Connections introduces first-year students to Yale’s cultural resources and diverse student body, with a focus on the experiences of students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Many incoming Yale students who identify as first-generation have found community through QuestBridge and First-year Scholars at Yale (FSY) — but the majority of first-gen students at Yale do not participate in either of these programs. 1stGenYale, which has partnered with FSY for five years, was excited to welcome even more first-gen students through Cultural Connections.
Over 73 Yalies registered, evenly split between students and alumni, who represented classes from 1956 to 2020 from Yale College as well as a number of the graduate and professional schools. After a brief introduction highlighting resources for first-gen and low-income students, the groups split into two rounds of breakout rooms for conversations on career areas, the transition to college, and tips for taking advantage of what Yale has to offer.