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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506

November 14, 2023

First-generation Student Center receives Outstanding Support for International Initiatives Award

Submitted by Grant Chapman

First Generation Logo

The Office of International Programs recognizes the First-generation Student Center for the 2023 Outstanding Support for International Initiatives Award as part of International Education Week 2023 at Kansas State University, Nov. 8-17. 

The Office of International Programs established the award in 2013 to recognize additional globally engaged areas within the K-State community. Given by the Office of International Programs' leadership team, this recognition is announced annually during the International Education Week celebration to recognize a K-State department, unit or organization that has gone above and beyond in global engagement, in support of international initiatives and/or in serving a global student and/or faculty body in extraordinary ways.

The First-generation Student Center developed and implemented the First-generation Study Student Abroad Experience starting in 2022-23. The development included obtaining funding from Student Centered Tuition Enhancement funds, as well as faculty and staff, Rebeca Paz and Tanya González working with education abroad, and Brent Holiday on the curriculum and experience. A group of 12 first-generation students went on an educational abroad experience to Costa Rica in spring 2023.

The First-generation Student Center extended the program because of its success and is offering a spring 2024 experience to Orvieto, Italy.

"We recognize the first-generational study abroad experience as an impactful, meaningful innovative student experience," said Grant Chapman, associate provost for international programs. "The First-generation Student Center was able to obtain funding to assist first-generation students with one major barrier to education abroad — namely the cost. Also, the center developed the program with first-generation students in mind, tailoring the program for the students. This innovative program is one of a few in the United States designed solely for first-generation college students." 

Rebeca Paz, assistant director of the First-Generation Student Center said, "We are grateful for the opportunity to increase access for first-generation students to international travel, and for the cross-campus collaborations that help make this possible. I value educational abroad experiences as a high impact practice not only because it assists in the retention of our students but also because it provides a transformational experience for them, as our 2023 student participants indicated. Our student group to Costa Rica comprised a diverse group of learners representing different identities and majors across the campus, including online learners and nontraditional students. We have expanded our 2024 group to 20 learners representing the diversity of our student population. We look forward to continuing this initiative and expanding access to first-generation students to transformational education abroad experiences."

Past recipients of this award were:

  • 2020 — Housing and Dining Services. 
  • 2021 — Risk and Compliance and International Travel Risk Advisory Board. 
  • 2022 — The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, or SIIL. 

Join us for a variety of International Education Week 2023 activites and programs through Nov. 17.