The theme of the Fall 2019 Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Student Success Conference was celebrating first-generation college students. The Conference was held on November 8th, the same day other colleges and universities across the country were observing the third annual First-Generation College Celebration.

According to Dr. David Stout, president of Brookdale Community College, approximately 85% of Brookdale’s EOF students are first-generation college students. “That can be scary sometimes because you don’t have a person in your family who has been there before you,” he said to the students. “EOF is a tool for you to become successful in college and also in life,” said Stout.

“Everything we do at this institution is to help our students grow,” said Dr. Yesenia Madas, associate vice president of Student Affairs at Brookdale. She shared her experience as a first-generation college graduate in her keynote speech.

Dr. Fidel Wilson, EOF alumnus and director of Early College High School Programs and Educational Partnerships at Brookdale, moderated the First-Generation Panel Presentation which included Dr. Emmanuel Mercedes, a licensed counseling psychologist. In addition, Brookdale faculty members Dr. James Crowder, professor in the biology department; Alex Idavoy, associate professor in the languages department; and Laura McCullough, professor in the English department as well as Jorge Terreros, Brookdale student success coach and Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) navigator, participated in the discussion and shared their experiences as first-generation college students.

Brookdale faculty and administrators.
(Left to right) Alex Idavoy, Dr. Fidel Wilson, Laura McCullough, Jorge Terreros, and Dr. James Crowder were part of the First-Generation Panel Presentation.

Students had the opportunity to attend workshops led by Brookdale employees as well as professionals from the community on diverse topics such as: emotional well-being and academic success, study abroad opportunities, secrets to academic success at Brookdale, and setting financial goals and becoming financially competent.

The conference concluded with a luncheon and recognition of EOF students who made the Dean’s List in Spring of 2019 and those who were on the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Roll in Spring 2019 as well as the new Fall 2019 EOF students.

Caption: Newly admitted EOF students were recognized at the Fall 2019 Student Success Conference.