University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

First-Generation Student Services

Pitt-Johnstown is proud to serve first-generation college students—undergraduates whose parents or legal guardians did not graduate from a four-year college. 

The first-generation population at Pitt-Johnstown far exceeds the national population and represents well over a third of our students. First-generation students and their families can have a difficult time navigating the campus. Therefore, we offer a variety of services designed to support and empower students and families to engage with campus services and opportunities. First-generation college students gain an introduction to college life through a program titled First at Pitt-Johnstown.

With the support of the Provost's Personalized Education Grant, we created a pilot program in 2018-2019 for first-generation students, who strongly evaluated the program and whose academic performance exceeded non-participants.  Given the success of the pilot program, First at Pitt-Johnstown will continue in 2019-2020 with new first-year student participants and will consist of the following components:

  • Mastering College: a one-credit course designed specifically to meet the needs of  first-generation students to increase the likelihood of a successful college transition
  • Peer & Faculty Mentoring: Participants are matched with upper class first-generation students who provide support and give participants the “inside scoop” on navigating college life. Faculty mentors also will share their stories and support participants.
  • Activities: Participants and mentors gather for on- and off-campus social events and activities.

The FirstGen Club

All first-generation students are invited to join our student organization, which was created to provide a common space for first-gen students to come together to support one another and to participate in fun activities and service learning projects.  Club members may elect to participate in high school outreach efforts to educate and support prospective first-gen students. 

Contact FirstGen Club President Kayla Lesofsky at or Vice-President Liz Penaloza at for more information. 

First Team

The First Team is comprised of staff who are designated first-generation student helpers.  These dedicated, compassionate professionals can help you get the most of out of their office’s services to improve your campus experience.