Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. Beth Bukoski

Third Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Bridges

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Rachel Gable


As first-generation students transition to college graduates, the question lies in whether institutions of higher education are continuing to provide opportunities for them as alums. As a result of first-generation college students being the first in their family to attend college, students may enter college not knowing what to expect. But institutions have evolved to provide services, resources and opportunities that support their success while enrolled. Upon graduation, the process of transitioning out of college can be a challenging time for students as they seek post-graduation success. Some institutions offer support and resources tailored specifically to first-generation graduates or graduates based on their identity, shared interests, or affinities. However, first-generation students may face the unknown or a loss of resources as they transition into life as a graduate. First-generation graduates may feel relatively alone in navigating life after college simply by virtue of being “first in their family” (Olson, 2015), however, students-turned-alums do not have to feel alone as they navigate post-graduation life. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to better understand the unique, lived experiences of first-generation alums, how they describe their alum network, and the relationship and experiences with their degree granting institution post-graduation.


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