If you have the good fortune to speak with Brown University junior Isaiah Frisbie, you will immediately notice his enthusiasm. That’s because Frisbie is one of several Student Coordinators for Brown’s newly opened First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center, also known as the FLi Center or FLiC. The first of its kind in the country, FliC’s mid-September opening marked the culmination of an effort that had been heavily driven by Brown students and was years in the making. FliC is the hub for some of Brown’s many initiatives, including its First-Generation College Student Program, which serves students from low-income environments or students who are first in their family to attend college.
Frisbie recalls how during his freshman year he had “no idea that ‘First Generation’ was an identity in and of itself.” But he quickly became involved with students who identify as such, and began working with them toward facilitating a communal space.
First generation and low income students come from diverse backgrounds around the globe, Frisbie explains, and some might feel “a bit of culture shock” when they arrive on campus. The space, located in the Sciences Library, offers academic support services, peer mentoring, alumni and career networking, and other important resources. But it is essentially a place for students with parallel experiences to come together and connect. “[FliC] solidifies us as a community and constitutes an immovable presence on campus,” notes Frisbie.
FliC’s personnel include both graduate and undergraduate students under the guidance of professional staff and Co-Directors Ricky Gresh and Yolanda Rome, and Graduate Coordinator Maria Ortega. Brown graduate students play a large role in the program, Frisbie says, his voice bubbling with excitement, “They’re passionate and interested in mentoring undergraduates [and] bridging the engagement between undergrad and graduate students, particularly in the medical and STEM fields.” He goes on, “It’s been such a positive experience. It continues to evolve.”
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