At the Intersection

Understanding and Supporting First-Generation Students

May 2021
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • ISBN 9781642670615
  • Language English
  • Pages 348 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 10 tables, 7 figs
May 2021
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • ISBN 9781642670608
  • Language English
  • Pages 348 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 10 tables, 7 figs
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May 2021
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • ISBN 9781642670622
  • Language English
  • Pages 348 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 10 tables, 7 figs
E-Book (ePub)
May 2021
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • ISBN 9781642670639
  • Language English
  • Pages 348 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 10 tables, 7 figs

The experiences of first-generation college students are not monolithic. The nexus of identities matter, and this book is intended to challenge the reader to explore what it means to be a first-generation college student in higher education. Designed for use in classrooms and for use by the higher education practitioner on a college campus today, At the Intersections will be of value to the reader throughout their professional career.


The book is divided into four parts with chapters of research and theory interspersed with thought pieces to provide personal stories to integrate the research and theory into lived experience. Each thought piece ends with questions to inspire readers to engage with the topic.


Part One: Who is a First-generation College Student? provides the reader an entrée into the topic, with up-to-date data on both four-year and two-year colleges. Part One ends with a thought piece that asks the reader to pull together some of the big ideas before moving on to look more closely at students’ identities.


Part Two: The Intersection of Identity shares the research, experience and thoughts of authors in relation to the individual and overlapping identities of LGBT, low-income, white, African-American, Latinx, Native American, undocumented, female, and male students who are all also first-generation college students.


Part Three: Programs and Practices is an introduction to practices, policies and programs across the country. This section offers promise and direction for future work as institutions try to find a successful array of approaches to make the campus an inclusive place for the diverse population of first-generation college students.

"In this edited volume, Robert Longwell-Grice and Hope Longwell-Grice, alongside the contributing authors, have extended to us an invitation and a challenge to honor the whole identities and lived truths of first-generation students. This book is a necessary read for educators, policy makers, and administrators looking to support first-generation students. Through research that highlights the complexities of the first-generation student population, features identity-based support programs, and calls attention to how we can center the dignity of our first-generation students, I am moved to be a more loving and informed educator. This is a significant justice issue of our time."

Mamta Motwani Accapadi - Vice Provost for University Life, University of Pennsylvania

"Robert and Hope Longwell-Grice are among a very select group of scholars who can be considered respected authorities on the demographics and issues of first-generation college students. They have presented and published on this topic for the past twenty years. In this volume, they complement their own considerable knowledge by gathering an impressive assemblage of other renowned scholars to explore carefully a wide array of identities and nuanced topics within the first-gen community. The result is one of the most comprehensive and thorough examinations of first-generation college students ever produced."

Michael J. Cuyjet - Professor Emeritus, University of Louisville

"FINALLY…A BOOK THAT “GETS IT!” At the Intersection is an aptly titled new work from the team of Robert and Hope Longwell-Grice that offers tremendous insight on the complicated journey taken by First-Generation students to and through college. What is different about this book is that, as the collective authors note, the First-Generation students of today hail from a diverse array of demographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds that are not some sort of inconvenient challenges to be transcended  — as some prior 'experts' seem to have suggested — but, rather, strengths and characteristics to be understood and appreciated as these students stand at the complex intersection of their respective personal worlds and the institutions of higher education they attend. As a university graduate school faculty member whose students are preparing to work as higher education administrators, I consider At the Intersection to be a critical resource, offering the sort of essential guidance these future professionals are going to need to support, and learn from, the First-Generation students with whom they will be working. Kudos to Rob and Hope Longwell-Grice for not only the content but also the long overdue tone and message of the book!

Thomas Grace - College of Education and Human Services, Montclair State University

"The phrase First-Generation Student has become such a ubiquitous moniker in higher education that the diversity of experiences and needs of the first-in-family enrolled college students it denotes has been obscured and reduced to a hollow catchphrase. In their edited text, At the Intersection: Understanding and Supporting First-Generation Students, Robert and Hope Longwell-Grice—along with an assemblage of expert scholar-practitioners—recapture the value and substance of the designation by providing readers with an accessible primer and guidebook. At the Intersection offers readers an instrumental resource for understanding and effectively responding to these students’ divergent, shared, and intersectional identities in service of their access, retention, learning, well-being, and success."

Jason A. Laker - Professor of Higher Education, Student Affairs, and Community Development, San José State University

"I loved At the Intersection. As a first-generation college student myself who ended up a dean at a major university, the content of this book tells a lot of my story, both the challenges I had to work through and the supports I needed to make it. The section on identity makes this an imperative read for understanding today’s first-gen population. The section on recommended programs, policies, and practices makes it essential reading for faculty and students in student affairs, student success, counseling, and higher education. It’s also a quick and lively read!"

Ellen McIntyre - Dean, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, University of Tennessee

"If you care deeply about the dynamic, lived experiences of first-generation college students, then this book is a must-read. This book has garnered critical conversations and insightful contributions to embolden our deep understanding of the kaleidoscope of identities first-generation college students possess. This is the book I longed to see when I first started researching first-generation college students! This book is surely seminal and paves a path forward for all of us to recognize the untold stories of first-generation college students."

Lindsay Romasanta - Director of Student Success Programs, UC San Diego, and Co-editor, NASPA Journal on First-Generation Student Success

"This book beautifully and boldly unveils the marriage between the body of research and on-the-ground experiences of first-generation students--from an intersectional approach that is often overlooked. As a first-generation graduate, I urge every staff and faculty member to read At the Intersection to understand the complexities of a student’s journey beyond academic determinants. If you are passionate about understanding, cultivating, and amplifying first-gen students’ success, start here."

Jocelyn G. Salcedo - Member, Class Action First Gen Summit Planning Committee and Career Engagement Coordinator, Bennington College

"This exciting new text is a welcomed addition to the higher education landscape and offers a critical, and deeply important, examination of the intersectional nature of the first-generation college student identity. As we attempt to rid the first-generation space of misconceptions and deficit-based approaches, this book thoughtfully considers the importance of understanding how multiple identities shape the college-going experience. Moreover, the intersectional nature of the first-generation identity must be central in scholarship and service-provision as we welcome a shifting demographic into higher education. The premise that we must consider and reconsider all that we know and do not know about first-generation students is a consequential and necessary reminder for us all."

Sarah E. Whitley - Assistant Vice President, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Preface — Hope Longwell-Grice
Introduction—Robert Longwell-Grice and Hope Longwell-Grice

Part One: Who is a First-Generation College Student?
1) A Review of the Data—Robert Longwell-Grice
2) Unpacking First-Gen Discourse: A Sociological Perspective—Steven P. Dandaneau
3) Setting the Foundation: Understanding the Impact of College on First-Generation Students—Ryan D. Padgett
Critical Conversation One: First-Gen or Working Class? The Politics of Terminology—Sherry Lee Linkon
4) Background Characteristics of First-Generation Students and Their Reasons for Pursuing Higher Education—Khanh Bui
5) Message Received: Parental Encouragement and Its Effect on the College-Choice Process—Michael J. Smith
Critical Conversation Two: Inheriting Inequality: Hidden Challenges of First-Generation Students—David Hernández

Part Two: The Intersections of Identity
6) The Nuances of First-Generation College Students’ Social Class Identity—Sonja Ardoin
7) I Don’t Need Any Help: Working With First-Generation, Low-Income, White Males—Roxanne Moschetti
Critical Conversation Three: Reflections on Being a First-Generation, African-American Male College Student—Nate Deans Jr.
8) Dual Invisibilities: The Intersection of First-Generation and LGBT Identities—Pheng Xiong
9) First-Generation Latinex Students’  Information Seeking at College—Vasti Torres, Lucy LePeau, and Yvonne Garcia
Critical Conversation Four: First-Generation and Undocumented—Ana Karina Soltero López
10) It’s All About the Journey: Exploring the College Experience of First-Generation Women—Nicole Zervas Adsitt
11) Crossing Bridges: First-Generation Native American Students at College—Les Riding-In and Scott Amundsen
Critical Conversation Five: Project MALES—Victor B. Sáenz, Emmet Campos, Mike Gutierrez, and Rodrigo Aguayo

Part Three: Programs and Practices
12) And the Research Says… Program Supports Across the Spectrum—Robert Longwell-Grice and Mackenzie Hoffman
13) College Preparation Through College Access and Support Programs—  Staci Weber
Critical Conversation Six: It’s All a Bunch of B.S.: How Institutional Jargon Creates In-Groups & Out-Groups in Higher Education—Sonja Ardoin
14) Supporting Transfer for First-Generation Community College Students—Gloria Crisp, Rebecca Robertson, and Elizabeth Cox Brand
Critical Conversation Seven: Moving on in Milwaukee: Easing the College Transition Process for 2-Year College Students—Pablo Muirhead
15) Learning Where They Live: First-Generation College Students in the Residence Halls—Paul Gallagher
Critical Conversation Eight: Advice for Advisers—Hadyn K. Swecker and Matthew Fifolt
16) Career Development Needs of First-Generation College Students—Heather Maietta
Critical Conversation Nine: They’re Here, Now, What Can We Do to Keep Them?—Katharine Moffat
17) Admissions Isn’t Access: First-Generation College Graduates in Medical Schools—Hyacinth Mason, Jeffrey Winseman, and Erin Ayala
Critical Conversation Ten: Becoming the Architect: First-Generation Graduate Students Claiming the Label—Adj Marshall
18) When First-Generation College Students Become Doctoral Candidates—Heather Maietta
Critical Conversation Eleven: How a College Rebuilt Itself by Centering First-Generation College Students—Staci Weber
Epilogue: What’s in a Name? Narratives and Counternarratives of the First-Generation Moniker—Rashné Jehangir and Kelly Collins


Robert Longwell-Grice

Rob Longwell-Grice, Ed.D. is currently the director of recruitment and scholarship services for the School of Education at UW Milwaukee. Rob was featured in the documentary film, “First Gens,” released in the fall of 2019. Rob is a first-generation college student and his dissertation was a case study of working class, first-generation white males. The study looked at the interplay of social class and first-generation status.

Hope Longwell-Grice

Hope Longwell-Grice, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

intersectionality; first-generation students; student support; student affairs; educational equality; social and class identity; college transition