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Distinguished Team Award Winners

2024 Distinguished Team Award Winners

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First Gen Workgroup

Team Leader: David McCall – Associate Professor of Developmental Curriculum

Team members: Allison Bernknopf, Angela Buys, Cindy Smith, Elizabeth Post, Emmanuel Ogua, Jennifer Stevens, Joanie Hazelton, Mark Young, Nancy Hogan, Nicholas Palmer, Nina Davis, Sharon George, Trishia Blackwell, all serving in a voluntary capacity serving over and above their other normal work duties.

Their goal is to support and celebrate FG students in any way they can. The primary focus is on any student whose parents did not graduate with a bachelor’s degree. However, they have broadened that focus to support students who might not fit the exact criteria of a FG student, creating a definition of First Gen that is very unique to Ferris apart from the nation-wide standard. They seek to reach “any student who lacks the experience with the college experience.”

Their Tag line is “If we do what’s good for FG students, then we are doing what’s good for all Ferris students.”

When asked, “why do you think the team is successful?”, Dave McCall responded because their focus is building a sense of belonging. They help students who might not have means or a knowledge base at the family level to draw from by connecting them with resources at Ferris, as well as helping students who may not know what questions to ask, and by helping break down academic jargon they might not be familiar with.

FG also hopes to begin reaching out to international students to help support their needs as they travel so far from home, family and friends to expand their educational experience.

Everyone benefits from surrounding themselves by others who are invested in their experience, that’s what FG hopes to give students here.

As 1 of 22 institutions admitted nationally to the First-Scholars Network, Ferris has a pin on the map and is making a difference. Dave expressed that he cannot give enough credit to the team about how much effort and passion they put into helping students thrive.

In Dave’s words, “One of the greatest rewards for this workgroup is to see these FG students be generational trail blazers and see the pride on their families’ faces.”

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