Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Newbury Center Welcome and Orientation – Fall 2023

What is a first-generation undergrad student? 

A student in the first generation of their family to go to college (i.e., a student whose parents/guardians/caregivers did not earn bachelor’s degrees, although elder siblings and cousins may be attending college already or have earned four-year degrees).

What is a first-generation graduate/professional student? 

A student whose parents/guardians/caregivers did not earn a master's, doctorate, or a professional degree such as a JD or MD.

Here at the Newbury Center, we provide welcome and orientations for new first-gen students to give you a warm welcome to BU. Held at the beginning of each semester, these events introduce students to the resources of the Newbury Center, share some "ins and outs" of being a first-gen student at BU, and start building your community.

For the fall semester, we will offer separate orientations for new first generation undergraduate and graduate students, both in-person and on Zoom--please attend whichever one works best for your schedule.

 Registration details below!


  • In Person Orientation- STH B24 ("Community Room")
  • Virtual Orientation- on Zoom 


  • In Person Orientations
    • Monday, September 11, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM - Charles River Campus, STH B24 ("Community Room")
      Dinner will be provided, receive a free Terrier F1RSTS t-shirt, and win some Newbury Center swag!
      REGISTER HERE by Wednesday, September 6th 
    • Tuesday, September 19, 5:00PM - 7:00 PM- BU Medical Campus, Hiebert Lounge INS 1407
      Dinner will be provided, receive a free Terrier F1RSTS t-shirt, and win some Newbury Center swag!
      REGISTER HERE by Thursday, September 14th 
  • Virtual Orientation- on Zoom

    Resources for the Class of 2027

    What is a first-generation student? A student in the first generation of their family to go to college (i.e., a student whose parents/guardians/caregivers did not earn bachelor’s degrees, although elder siblings and cousins may be attending college already or have earned four-year degrees).

    Welcome Terriers! We're excited that you've chosen Boston University to embark on your collegiate journey for the next four years.

    We are the Newbury Center, Boston University's first center devoted to supporting and celebrating first-generation college students (Terrier F1RSTS).  The center is located in the heart of campus, at 755 Commonwealth Ave in Suite B18. We are a highly visible, transformative unit of the University, offering programming and services designed to ensure that first-generation students experience the same sense of well-being, belonging, self-efficacy, and academic accomplishment as their continuing-generation peers.

    Explore what the Newbury Center has to offer first-generation students:

    We're excited to support you throughout your journey at Boston University. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our director, Maria Dykema Erb (mderb@bu.edu), our assistant director, MC Damm (mdamm@bu.edu), or give us a call at (617)353-3400.

    Make sure to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

    Ally Li ALP ’22 Seizes Opportunities as a First-Gen College Student


    "It’s better to take aggressively these different opportunities, so you don’t regret not applying for them." - Ally Li, ALP ‘22, USA

    Ally Li, a Business Administration and Management student at Boston University, told her story as the daughter of Chinese immigrants and a first-in-family college student. She shared how her experiences have driven her to pursue valuable opportunities. Read More.

    New Terrier-Run Podcast Aims to Be a Resource for First-Gen Latina Students

    Vicky Plasencia (COM’23) created project with guidance from BU’s Newbury Center

    Vicky Plasencia (COM’23), a public relations major and international student from Argentina, created the First-Gen Latina Podcast to help other first-generation college students navigate financial aid and other challenges of university life.


    03/20/23--Howard Thurman Center, Boston University Campus. Vicky Plasencia held a launch party to celebrate the first three episodes of her new podcast about the first-generation Latinx student experience. Podcast was developed with the assistance of the Newbury Center. Photo by Jake Belcher.

    With the help of BU’s Newbury Center, a campus support service for first-generation college students like herself, Vicky Plasencia began her First-Gen Latina Podcast. From the College of Communications podcast recording studios, Plasencia addresses her listeners like a wise older sister who’s been through the tough stuff and wants to make sure they don’t have to. 

    Read the whole story here

    Terriers in Charge: Brianna Bourne (CAS’24)

    Brianna Bourne (CAS’24) grew up in Mattapan surrounded by Caribbean culture. Her neighborhood drew families originally from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica, where her parents were born. So, when the psychology and classics double major arrived at BU, she went in search of a student club that celebrated Caribbean music, dance, and food. 


    3/17/23 -- Boston, Massachusetts
    Brianna Bourne (CAS’24), president of SOCA, Students of Caribbean Ancestry Club
    Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography


    What she discovered disappointed her. There had been a student club, SOCA (Students of Caribbean Ancestry), but it had become inactive during the COVID pandemic. Bourne tracked down two students who had been part of the club and they encouraged her to reactivate it and to reach out to the Student Activities Office (SAO) for guidance.


    Read the whole story here

    Terriers in Charge: Kathya Correa Almanza (CAS’25)

    After Kathya Correa Almanza (CAS’25) was accepted to BU, her sister urged her to join clubs that would provide a sense of community. The San Francisco native, whose family is from Mexico, started researching student organizations and found Alianza Latina, BU’s largest Latinx student organization, on Instagram. When she arrived on campus, she immediately sought them out during Splash, the annual student club fair.

    2/22/23 -- Boston, Massachusetts
    Kathya Correa Almanza (CAS’25) is the vice president of Alianza Latina.
    Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography


    “I was in search of people I could relate to and connect to,” says Correa Almanza, a first-gen student majoring in psychology and minoring in education. “The club gave me a place where I could be myself and meet kind, welcoming people from similar backgrounds, but where I could experience and learn about other Latinx cultures.” 


    Read the whole story here 

    COM Student among Inaugural Cohort of Obama Foundation Voyager Scholarship Winners

    Katarina “Kat” Quach (COM’24) is one of 100 college students recognized for their commitment to public service

    As a middle and high school student in Seattle, Wash., Katarina “Kat” Quach wanted to give students a voice, so she became active in student government. She also wanted to share her love of art, so she interned at the Seattle Art Museum, and after coming to BU, worked on a series of public art installations designed to promote learning and engagement in children. As a first-generation college student, Quach (COM’24) works at the Newbury Center, where she provides support and resources to other first-gen students.

    Now, her commitment to public service has earned Quach a rare distinction: she has been named one of the inaugural recipients of the Obama Foundation’s Voyager Scholarship, also known as the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service.

    Read the whole story here.

    First-Gen Story from A Posse Scholar Teresa Miguel

    “Being a first-generation means I have opportunities and experiences I’ve never had before, a newfound community for a lifetime, knowledge and understanding of systems, and access to new things. Being a first-generation means I’m bringing my knowledge back to my community, to my family, and moving forward with them.”

    - Teresa Miguel, (Sargent '25)

    To recognize First-Generation College Celebration Day, BU Today asked Posse scholar Teresa Miguel to share her story. She shares her journey from rural Georgia to urban Boston. Knowing that she got into Boston University, she felt “happy, proud, and guilty” at the same time. After meeting many first-gen students through several events, she became confident to introduce herself, “My name is Teresa Miguel, a first-generation and low-income student here at Boston University.”

    Read the whole story here.

    Valerie’s Summer with The Providence Justice Fellowship

    “The Providence Justice Fellowship through the BU Initiative on Cities (IOC) was a really informative experience that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to complete. As a junior pursuing law as my eventual career, this aspect of justice drew me in when I saw the fellowship posted.

    - Valerie Sanchez Covaleda (CAS/CGS ’24)


    A first-generation student, Valerie, had an opportunity to participate in BU Initiative on Cities (IOC), particularly at the City of Providence Office of Sustainability. She developed several skills, specifically project management skills, and also improved her communication skills when contacting so many different people. This opportunity also led her to gain a lot of new knowledge about environmental issues, as well as about how justice and inequality tie into that.

    See the whole story here.

    5 Tips for First-gen College Students

    "College is hard enough to navigate already, but especially as a first-gen student. Don’t worry, you’re not alone."

    - Katarina Quach (COM’24)


    Kat came to Boston University from Seattle, Washington, which means being at BU puts her quite a ways from home. As a junior in COM majoring in Public Relations and as an employee at Newbury Center on campus, she wrote 5 (five) important tips for first-generation college students.

    See the whole story here.