First-Generation Student Success
and Research Center

The You First at VCU, First-Generation Student Success and Research Center creates environments in which new empirical research is generated, tested and shared to create more equitable educational environments for first generation college students by addressing the social, academic, and financial barriers that prevent students from timely degree completion.

Through a grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund core components of the faculty engagement aspect of the You First Center have been established:

  • You First Faculty Fellow Program to offer fellowships to faculty who are motivated to advance the Center’s mission. Faculty fellows will play a leadership role in faculty development programming and serve as liaisons between the Center, departments, and faculty.
  • First Gen Ambassadors Program, a faculty learning community which will offer peer-led groups of faculty, staff, and graduate students a collaborative structure to provide encouragement, support and reflection on the teaching, learning, research, and developmental needs of faculty working to engage first generation students.

  • First-Generation Research Grants to faculty and students who are interested in engaging in research to explore various facets of student success, which hold important implications for first-generation student success.

  • Faculty development opportunities will also be sponsored by the You First Center with specific focus on innovative approaches to teaching and learning.


This Year's Faculty Fellow

Edmund Acevedo, Ph.D., FACSM
Dr. Acevedo is a Hispanic first-generation college graduate, and a professor in the department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences. His primary research focus is on the impact of stress and fitness level on an individual’s health. He has examined the effects of concurrent mental and physical challenges on cardiorespiratory responses, and indicators of inflammation and endothelial wall function. More recently, his research group has conducted a number of research projects focused on telomere length, a biological marker of cellular age.