About the Center

Welcome to the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation.

about the center


The Center for First-generation Student Success: Driving higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.


The Center is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students.


First-generation college students are critically important and an increasing population at nearly all institutions of higher education. As college and university leaders and practitioners are actively seeking avenues to best meet the specific needs of first-generation students, the Center for First-generation Student Success emerges as a leader for scholarly discussion, information sharing, networking, and program development.

Through provision of services and guidance across institutional types, the Center aims to acknowledge the intersectional experiences of first-generation college students. This website serves as a home for Center updates and announcements, an outlet for sharing cutting edge research and current media conversations, opportunities for engagement through conferences and events, and access to a bevy of programs and services intended to improve first-generation initiatives across higher education.

The Center, based at NASPA in Washington, DC, invites you to join our engaged community of thoughtful practitioners across higher education by becoming a NASPA member.  We encourage you to become involved in current and future initiatives and look forward to learning how you are currently serving first-generation students in your community. Thank you for your commitment to first-generation student success!


Connect Multi Black

Connect & Recognize


Knowledge Multi Green

Knowledge Creation &
Evidence-based Practices


Scalable Approaches Blue

Innovation & 
Scalable Approaches


Thought Leadership Orange

Thought Leadership &

Click here to learn more about the Center Strategic Priorities.

The Suder Foundation

The Suder Foundation was founded from Eric and Deborah Suders’ vision to design an innovative program that would dramatically increase the graduation rates of first-generation college students—those who are first in their family to attend college. For several years prior to starting the foundation, the Suders endowed scholarships at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and West Virginia University (WVU) in order to help students with middle-range academic credentials and financial need who wanted to go to college but couldn’t afford it. They naïvely thought that financial assistance alone would assure the students’ success. They quickly learned this was not the case and most recently amplified investment in first-generation student success.


Center Leadership

The Center for First-generation Student Success will serve as the primary entity to increase the research, scholarship, and effective practice supporting first-generation student success and to expand the number of institutions with evidence-based programs. 

Click here to review the Center Press Kit. If you are interested in having a first-generation college success speaker for a meeting or event, please contact the Center by email at first-gencenter@naspa.org.

Center Staff
Bio: Bill Barker
Bill Barker

Strategy and Communications Manager, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Jessica Colorado
Jessica Colorado, M.S., M.S.Ed.

Assistant Director, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Mary Fugate Headshot
Mary Fugate, M.S.

Associate Director, Research and Analytics, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Bobby McGowan Headshot
Robert C. McGowan

Program Coordinator, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Garrett Nagaishi Headshot
Garrett Nagaishi, M.A.

Associate Director for Strategic Operations, First Scholars Initiatives, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Diane Schorr Updated
Diane Schorr, J.D., CAP

Director, First-generation Advocacy and Initiatives, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Deana Waintraub Stafford
Deana Waintraub Stafford, M.Ed.

Director, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Bio: Sarah Whitley
Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Qua'Aisa Williams Headshot
Qua'Aisa Williams, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Instructional Design, First Scholars Initiatives, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Advisory Board
Bio: Mamta Accapadi
Mamta Accapadi, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for University Life, University of Pennsylvania

Bio: Angela Alvarado Coleman
Angela Alvarado Coleman, Ed.D.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, North Carolina Central University

Bio: Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown, Ph.D.

Vice President, Strategic Impact, Lumina Foundation

Bio: Sarita Brown
Sarita Brown, M.A.

President, Excelencia in Education

Bio: Walter Bumphus
Walter Bumphus, Ph.D.

President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges

Bio: Mary C. Daly
Mary C. Daly, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank, San Francisco

Bio: Steve Dandaneau
Steven P. Dandaneau, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (UERU), Colorado State University

Bio: Diana Doyle
Diana M. Doyle, Ph.D.

Retired President; Higher Education Consultant, Arapahoe Community College

Bio: Jennifer Engle
Jennifer Engle, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, U.S. Program Data, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bio: Maureen Hoyler 2018
Maureen Hoyler, J.D.

President, Council for Opportunity in Education

Bio: Jennifer Keup
Jennifer Keup, Ph.D.

Executive Director, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students In Transition

Bio: Kevin Kruger
Kevin Kruger, Ph.D.

President, NASPA

DeRionne Pollard Headshot
DeRionne Pollard, Ph.D.

President, Montgomery College

Bio: Angel M. Royal
Angel M. Royal, Ph.D.

Chief of Staff, American Association of Community Colleges

Bio: David Rudd
David Rudd, Ph.D.

President, University of Memphis

Bio: Kirk Schulz
Kirk Schulz, Ph.D.

President, Washington State University

Bio: Louis Soares
Louis Soares, M.P.A.

Chief Learning and Innovation Officer, American Council on Education

Bio: Karen Stout
Karen Stout, Ed.D.

President & CEO, Achieving the Dream

Bio: Deborah Suder
Deborah Suder

Director and Co-Founder, The Suder Foundation

Bio: Eric Suder
Eric Suder

President and Founder, The Suder Foundation

Advisory Board Ex-Officio Members
Bio: Stephanie Gordon
Stephanie Gordon, Ed.D.

Vice President, Professional Development, NASPA

Bio: Sarah Whitley
Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Advocacy Group
Sonja Ardoin 2020 Headshot
Sonja Ardoin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Student Affairs Administration, Appalachian State University

Bio: Amy Baldwin
Amy Baldwin, Ed.D.

Director and Senior Lecturer of Writing, Literacy, and Academic Success in Student Transitions, University of Central Arkansas

Ivy K. Banks, J.D.

Associate Vice Provost, Diversity & Inclusion, University of Arizona

Bridgette Behling, M.Ed.

Associate Director, Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy, & Diversity, University of Maryland

Bio: Whitnee Boyd
Whitnee Boyd, Ed.D.

Chair; Coordinator of Special Projects, Office of the Chancellor, Texas Christian University

Bio: Julie Carbello
Julie Carballo, M.Ed.

Past-Chair; Director, First Generation Programs; Veterans & Military Services Coordinator, North Central College

Maria Erb 2020 Headshot
Maria Dykema Erb, M.Ed.

Chair-Elect; Director, Newbury Center, First-generation Program, Boston University

Neil Jamerson 2020 Headshot
Neil Jamerson, J.D.

Assistant Vice President, Student Development, Furman University

Rashné Jehangir 2020 Headshot
Rashné Jehangir, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Robert H. Beck Chair of Ideas, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Bio: Oscar Miranda
Oscar Miranda, M.Ed.

Assistant Director, Access and Student Support, Elon University

Kaye Monk-Morgan 2020 Headshot
V. Kaye Monk-Morgan, Ed.D.

Vice President for Strategic Engagement and Planning, Wichita State University

Kelley O'Neal 2020 Headshot
Kelley O'Neal, M.Ed.

Director, Byrne Student Success Center, Texas A&M University

Leslie Pendleton 2020 Headshot
Leslie H. Pendleton, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, University of Florida

Daphne Rankin 2020 Headshot
Daphne L. Rankin, Ph.D.

Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management, Virginia Commonwealth University

La'Tonya Rease Miles 2020 Headshot
La’Tonya Rease Miles, Ph.D.

Dean of Student Affairs, Menlo College

Jennifer Schoen 2020 Headshot
Jennifer Schoen, M.Ed.

Director of Opportunity Scholarship and Outreach Programs, Northeastern University

James Winfield Headshot
James Winfield, M.Ed.

Associate Dean of First Year Experience, General Education and Retention Strategies, Southern New Hampshire University

Diana Wisse 2020 Headshot
Diana Wisse, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Student Affairs, Columbus State Community College

Jennifer Zelek 2020 Headshot
Jennifer Zelek, M.A.

Coordinator & Advisor, First Generation Freshman Office, Seminole State College of Florida