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    This was a deeply personal project and as I developed it I appreciated and felt proud of the First-Generation label. As a First-Generation Colleg… Read More
    This was a deeply personal project and as I developed it I appreciated and felt proud of the First-Generation label. As a First-Generation College Student, I recognized many obstacles that face students when they are trying to apply to college. During my senior thesis research I found that there was no centralized database for First-Generation students. The information that I did find was often dense and hard to understand. I also found out that many of these programs began keeping track of students their freshman year of high school. My solution was to design a resource and guide for First-Generation high school students in Milwaukee that is organized by school year. Under the instruction of Danielle Gagliano, Dale Shidler, and Ashley Town I researched, concepted, designed, and created #FirstGenMKE at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Read Less
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About #FirstGenMKE
As a First-Generation College Student (FGCS) I recognized a discrepancy between wanting to go college and knowing how to get there. I personally had no idea about “common knowledge” information like financial aid resources or preparing for the ACT/SAT. Created as a high school resource for First-Generation College Students in Milwaukee, #FirstGenMKE focuses on filling in the informational gaps of being the first in your family to attend college. Organized by school year, information is separated to be easily understandable, accessible, and relatable. By creating a guide in the form of a school planner it generates the need to consistently open the guidebook and keep students on track. Filled with tips, exercises, and important dates- this resource becomes an integral part of their high school journey. #FirstGenMKE ultimately ensures that students become a part of a larger community and creates an online support network that connects students with local programs, scholarships, and mentors. 
#FirstGenMKE Guidebook
Created in the form of a planner, it is seamlessly incorporated into everyday student life. Guide includes: tips, exercises, resources, inspirational quotes, and important dates.
The four guidebooks are separated by year, each with different goals and compounding information.
Year One: “Start Here”
Start Here focuses on on how to properly create and follow through goals. Ultimately, creating a four-year high school plan is the goal. This includes working with advisors, parents, and self-guided exercises to figure out what that may be.
 
Year Two: “Charged Up” 
In Charged Up, students take their four-year plan and begin to take action. By participating in volunteering/community service, summer internships, and student organizations First-Gen students begin to ground themselves within the community. They will also begin to identify members in the community they can rely on as mentors as they begin to achieve their goals.
Year Three: “Dream Big”
By the time students reach their junior year in high school they should already be on their way to  realizing their goals. Often times junior year is the most stressful for students, Dream Big focuses on staying on track and preparing for upcoming AP tests and college placement tests if they haven't done so already. 
Year Four: “Take Off”
The final year! Students have spent the last three years making goals and following through with them. Take Off focuses on understanding post-high school options and information on how to apply for scholarships and FAFSA/Financial Aid. #FirstGenMKE helps organize college visits to local campuses with strong First-Generation student support. Students will have the skills, tools, and network needed to succeed in the post-secondary journey. 
First-Gen Kit
Custom swag bags are given to First-Generation students at the beginning of each school year (9-12). These bright bags create conversation while also promoting the #FirstGenMKE hashtag. Kit includes: Bag, carry-all pouch, custom guidebook, fun stickers and supplies; Everything a student needs to personalize their First-Gen journey!
Social Media
The hashtag #FirstGenMKE creates a unique online community for First-Generation students, parents, and alumni to ask questions or spread information. Bold colors, engaging content, and fun videos/gifs/tutorials take the pressure off of researching important information.
Take Action
With the support of parents, mentors, and the #FirstGenMKE community, students create informed action plans and prepare for college.
MIAD 2016 Senior Exhibition
As a Communication Design student at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design we are given the opportunity to display our senior thesis in a multi-disciplined gallery showcase. 
I was able to concept, design, and create a personalized space to feature my work. Our Gallery Night reception brought in over 5000 members of the community where I had a chance to walk through and present my senior thesis project. I was then honored as my #FirstGenMKE exhibition space was chosen to be featured in the MIAD juried exhibition.
All four #FirstGenMKE guidebooks were published for this exhibition space. I was also able to feature an example swag bag kit, stickers, buttons, tote bags, and post card take aways. 
If you would like to read about my research and process, please visit my processbook on issuu
If you would like to see more gifs and videos, please visit the #FirstGenMKE tumblr page. Want to learn about me? please visit my website.
Thank You
Thank you for your continued support and visiting my work at MIAD!
 
This project was created at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design under the instruction of Danielle Gagliano, Dale Shidler, and Ashley Town