Boston University is home to the Gamma Iota Chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha (or Tri-Alpha), a national honor society for first-generation college students. Our Tri-Alpha chapter recognizes academic achievement, creates enthusiasm for scholarship, promotes leadership, and provides a support network for first-gen students. The chapter includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, as well as faculty and staff.

View past ceremonies


Students, faculty, and staff who qualify will receive an invitation to apply for Tri-Alpha membership. Once their applications are accepted, they will be invited to an induction ceremony, where they will become official members of the society. Our Tri-Alpha chapter holds induction ceremonies each fall and spring.

Undergraduate students qualify for Tri-Alpha membership if they meet the following criteria:

  • The student has earned at least 30 credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree.
  • The student has achieved an overall GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Neither of the student’s parents, nor stepparents, nor legal guardians, completed a bachelor’s degree.

Graduate and professional students qualify for Tri-Alpha membership if they meet the following criteria:

  • The student has completed at least one semester at Boston University and earned nine or more graduate credits.
  • The student has achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher (if your school/college uses a high pass/pass system, your average is high pass).
  • Neither of the student’s parents, nor stepparents, nor legal guardians completed a bachelor’s degree. (Please note that although the Newbury Center recognizes a first-generation graduate or professional student as the first in their family to seek an advanced degree, Tri-Alpha is currently only inducting graduate and professional students who were first-generation undergraduate students.)

Faculty and staff may be inducted as well. To qualify, they must have met the definition of a first-generation student listed above at the time they completed their bachelor’s degree. Faculty and staff must be willing to serve as mentors for first-gen students.

A small number of alumni and honorary inductees may also be initiated each year.


After qualifying for membership and paying a small initiation fee, Tri-Alpha members receive the following benefits:

  • A certificate and pin signifying their lifetime membership in the society.
  • Tri-Alpha silver and dark blue double honor cords to wear with their cap and gown at Commencement.
  • An outward recognition of personal accomplishment and an incentive for continued high scholarship.
  • The opportunity to meet other first-generation scholars from all academic disciplines and to join them in promoting academic excellence and creating a supportive environment for first-gen college students.
  • Recognition by employers, professionals, and graduate schools of their superior academic ability and commitment.
  • The ability to mentor younger first-gen students.
  • The ability to receive mentoring from more senior first-gen students, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni who were first-gen students.
  • Local chapter leadership opportunities.


Tri-Alpha was founded on March 24, 2018, at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with the induction of 100 members of the Alpha Chapter. Moravian College then took steps to incorporate Alpha Alpha Alpha as a not-for-profit organization so colleges and universities across the country could start their own chapters of the society. Boston University joined Tri-Alpha in 2021 and inducted 553 members (491 students and 62 faculty and staff) into its chapter during an April 2021 induction ceremony.


Boston University Chapter Advisors

  • Christina Michaud, EdM, Master Lecturer, Associate Director of ELL Writing, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Traci Hong, PhD, Associate Professor of Media Science, College of Communication

Boston University Chapter Student Executive Board

Our elected chapter officers for 2024-2025:

President: Sarah Xu, Class of 2025, B.S. Education & Human Development, Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Vice President: Fari Mabud, Class of 2025, B.A. Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences

Treasurer: Christina Torres, Class of 2026, B.A. Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

Secretary: Sarah Cimbalanga, Class of 2025, M.S. Project Management, Metropolitan College

Historian: Natali Vasquez, Class of 2026, B.A. Hospitality Administration, School of Hospitality Administration

National Tri-Alpha Leadership

Please visit the national Tri-Alpha website for a current list of the members of the national executive board of directors.