At Wentworth we define First Generation or “First-Gen” students as anyone who come from a family where their parents did not complete a four-year college degree. Students who identify as first generation bring a wealth of unique skills and powerful experience to and through college and in their career development. CO-OPS + CAREERS is committed to offering support at each step of the way from a student’s first day at Wentworth, to graduation, and beyond. First generation students will find below many resources to guide them through a co-op or job search, building a support system, and navigating workplace culture. This page was inspired by the resources developed by the Hiatt Career Center at Brandeis.
Support at Wentworth
CO-OPS + CAREERS recognizes everyone brings an individual perspective to college and work; however, first generation students may have similar questions and concerns. Your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor is available to have meaningful and action-oriented dialogues about topics including:
- Finding part-time or full-time work that relates to your area of study.
- Applying to scholarships that are major related, career focused, or identity based.
- Identifying organizations for professional networking opportunities.
- Enrolling in programs that provide career development support through mentorship and counseling.
- Telling your unique story in a way that connects with employers.
- Building professional skills through training and professional development opportunities.
- Managing workplace culture shock and navigating code switching.
- Exploring potential career paths and picking best fit opportunities.
- Developing an action plan that makes sense and is easy to follow.
We are excited to support you, so connect with us and explore the many opportunities that are available.
Talk with us about
First generation students often navigate hurdles and layers of foreign experience that can feel like barriers to your goals. Meet with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor for support in navigating your individual situation.
- Meeting Financial Obligations – addressing individual needs through various channels such as work, scholarships, grants, and other options that exist for first generation students.
- Building Network/Community – addressing individual needs through on-campus and off-campus opportunities to build community through mentorship opportunities, academic/professional associations, and other options.
- Empowering Positive Career Actions/Outcomes – Addressing individual needs through training and skill building opportunities, professional development, 1:1 advising, and other opportunities to build self-confidence and achieve professional success.
CO-OPS + CAREERS offers programs and services to help students build fundamental career skills. Your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor can answer questions like: “What do I put on my resume?” and “How do I network?,” and will support you throughout your professional journey as a student, and for life as an alumnus/a. When you are ready to start exploring your career path, we recommend you do the following:
- Contact your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor: Call to make an appointment or reach out by email to introduce yourself. See individual profiles to find the CO-OP + CAREER Advisor that works with your specific major.
- Enroll in Co-op Institute – This course, taught by your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor, is designed to prepare you to successfully secure your first co-op through various skill building activities such as – resume and cover letter writing, networking, interviewing, job searching.
- Explore free resources developed by CO-OPS + CAREERS such as:
In addition to the co-op and career guidance our office provides, Wentworth supports first generation students via scholarship and grant programs and through student clubs and organizations supported by the Center for Diversity and Social Justice Programing (CSJDP).
Scholarships & Grants:
- Scholarship Universe: Easily match with available scholarships through Wentworth’s online portal
- Institutional Scholarships: Find and apply for Wentworth scholarships funded by donors and the University.
- John P. Heinstadt Professional Development Grant: Students can apply to meet the goals of professional development in one of the following key areas: career exploration, leadership development, promotion of social justice, service to the community
Find up-to-date information about Wentworth student clubs and organizations, including meeting times and location, on Leopard Spot.
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
Working to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and are ready to make a difference in their communities.
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
Share heritage, social responsibility, and a desire to improve the lives of all people through science and technology.
National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
NOMA’s mission is to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members. As a Wentworth chapter, their goal is to bring more awareness to the lack of diversity in the architectural profession and strive to collaborate and network with communities both on and off-campus.
Asian Student Association (ASA)
Along with helping students’ network and find academic success, ASA educates the Wentworth community about Asian ethnicity and culture.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
By nurturing professional, social, and academic networks among students, professionals, and employers, SWE encourages women to thrive in the engineering profession.
The purpose of Crowns is to establish a connection among women of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Uplifting its members in both their academic and professional endeavors while creating a safe space to speak about personal challenges.
Multicultural Student Association (MSA)
Celebrate and promote the acceptance of different cultural backgrounds, beliefs, traditions, ethnicities, and practices.
Career and Employment
Career Development Programs
The below listed programs are in direct support of first generations students with a focus on successful college completion and career entry.
A Boston based organization offering support to first generation and low income students from the Boston, New York, and Chicago areas through consistent one-on-one support. Must enroll in the program before starting classes as a freshman.
An organization that connects first generation and low-income students to potential scholarships as well as counseling and mentoring.
An organization dedicated to working with Boston Public School graduates who were unable to complete a post-secondary pathway (college, trade school, or vocational program) due to a range of reasons. They offer support through mentorship and financially.
An organization that combines cutting edge online career education with a network of supporters from coaches to mentors to employer partners. Support is split into a one semester accelerator course and an option to continue support through graduation.
The below listed scholarships are related to major, career path, and identity (be sure to note deadlines for specific applications).
Congressional Black Caucus Scholarships
Assists African American and Black students exploring a range of different professions
United Negro College Fund
The largest private scholarship provider to underrepresented groups.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a university degree
Dr. Juan Andrade Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders
A scholarship for young Hispanic leaders to recognize Hispanic students with a commitment to servant leadership
The Dream Award
Designed for students who have completed at least their first year of their college education, have a significant financial need, and have overcome obstacles through sheer determination
International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association Scholarship
Program for students pursuing a degree in an eligible major
The Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship
Open to individuals studying engineering or computer science that demonstrate financial need and come from underrepresented or underserved communities.
North American Network Operators’ Group Scholarship Program
The North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG), is the professional association for Internet engineering, architecture, and operations. Our core focus is on continuous improvement of the data transmission technologies, practices, and facilities that make the Internet function. Their scholarship program to assist current undergraduate and graduate-level students pursuing a degree in one of the eligible fields
Structural Engineering/ Construction Mgt/Architecture Scholarship
Offered to support education and encourage design and building of safer structures in our communities.
Pension Real Estate Association Scholarships
Awarded on an annual basis to promising students studying real estate at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Co-op and Job Search
Employer lists dedicated to organizations prioritizing hiring employees that represent diversity:
- Diversity Jobs Top Employers List: Annual listing of the top “diversity employers” across the US.
- America’s Best Employers for Diversity: Use this searchable list to find employers dedicated to workplace diversity by name, state, or industry. Listings are updated each year.
Tools and resources for improving the overall job search process:
- Portfolium: A unique space to showcase achievement outside of a traditional resume format
- What Can I Do with This Major?: Use this tool to explore what you can do with your major including: possible areas of interest, employers, and strategies to achieve success
Networking Organizations and Professional Associations
A network dedicated to first generations students offering resources, event opportunities, and other ways to engage.
An online community of first-generation students serving as both a space to connect with other first-generation and low-income students and to explore curated resources and materials.
Thank you to Becky Drossman, Assistant Director of College Access, and Erik Miller, Director, of the Center for Community & Learning Partnerships for your support and direction.
Thank you to Tram-Anh Nguyen, Career Connections Manager, and Kira Terrill, Alumni Engagement Manager, from Bottom Line for offering support and their insight regarding the challenges facing first generation students.
Thank you to Annabelle Cataloni, Postsecondary Team Manager, with the Boston PIC for further insight into the first generation student experience as well as offering to collaborate on future initiatives to partner with Wentworth.
Thank you to Juan Cantu, Program Officer for Education to Career, at the Boston Foundation overseeing the Success Boston College Completion Initiative for his insight, ideas, and impactful work to connect CO-OPS + CAREERS with Boston community partners currently supporting first generation students to and through college.