News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Herrera (202) 478-4665


 Washington, D.C. — Today the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) launched First Generation Voices, a new multimedia project highlighting the stories of first generation college students on AASCU member campuses. 

Told through audio, video and written narratives, First Generation Voices seeks to explore—through the eyes of today’s college and university students—the challenges and triumphs that go along with being the first in their families to seek higher education. 

“A hallmark of our members is their commitment to access, affordability and educational opportunity,” said Susan Chilcott, AASCU’s vice president for communications,  “so it is no surprise that AASCU campuses traditionally have been the schools of choice for first generation college students.”

Launching the project are five stories: Shera Howe, freshman, Lyndon State College (Vt.); Ashdon Terrell Ouzts, sophomore, Coastal Carolina University (S.C.); Chong Yang, freshman, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Nikki and Krista Buchheit, freshman and senior (respectively), Southeast Missouri State University; and Georgia Adams, senior, University of West Florida. 

The students featured in First Generation Voices come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, geographic locations and familial structures, yet common to these stories is the theme that almost all of these students believed college was just out of their reach.  The narratives address how they decided to attend college, the help their school has given them, and how their pursuit of higher education has informed their dreams and aspirations.  Says freshman Shera Howe, “After being here [Lyndon State College] for a semester, I’m incredibly grateful to have made it…There are so many options here, I could do anything with this education…there are limitless possibilities.”

Nikki and Krista Buchheit, sisters attending Southeast Missouri State University, are featured in the project’s first video narrative:  Additional stories can be found at  The project is expected to run through the 2010-2011 academic year, and submissions are still being accepted; new narratives will be posted on the AASCU website approximately twice a month.


AASCU is the leadership association of 430 public colleges and universities Delivering America’s Promise through their common commitments to access, affordability and educational opportunity. Enrolling more than 3 million students, these institutions fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education, stewardship and engagement, thereby improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their state.