FIRST@Smeal is a program for all first-generation college students in the Smeal College of Business. (Penn State defines first-generation college students as any student whose immediate parents or legal guardians have not completed a baccalaureate degree.) The program provides support, leadership opportunities, and a specifically assigned academic adviser.


  • Support first-gen students through the transition into college and through the rest of their time in Smeal.
  • Help first-gen students navigate the higher education system.
  • Provide a community that they can continue to build, change and influence.


  • Increase the number of first-gen students who successfully enter a Smeal major.
  • Increase the sense of belonging that first-gen students feel within Smeal.
  • Provide unique networking opportunities for first-gen students with Smeal alumni.
  • Provide events centered on improving their skills, academics, and professional lives.
  • Provide leadership opportunities through the FIRST@Smeal Leadership Team.

For more information, please email Kelly Swigert.