Dr. Christina Bridges, Ed.D, MSW (she/her) is a strategic retention manager for Student Success Assessment and Strategic Initiatives (SSASI); the interim director of strategic planning for the NSSC Pathway Programs (Detroit M.A.D.E., Dow STEM, TRIO SSS and Spartan FLI Programs); and the project lead for First-Generation Student Initiatives.
The MSU 2030 strategic plan and vision for Michigan State University commits to the expansion of opportunities for diverse learners, including first-generation college students. As someone who identifies as a first-generation college student, I personally know the importance of being first in the family to complete a college degree and the inherent pride that comes along with this achievement.
Serving in part as the Office of Undergraduate Education’s project lead for first-gen initiatives, I am excited to partner with colleagues campuswide and explore new opportunities to elevate work supporting this demographic of Spartans. In my previous leadership role with the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program, I was able to lead efforts that earned MSU’s designation as a First-Gen Forward Institution with the Center for First-generation Student Success.
Spearheading MSU’s involvement with the First-Gen Forward Cohort also provided me the opportunity to create and design the institution’s first centralized website highlighting first-gen efforts, firstgen.msu.edu, with support from the Neighborhood Student Success Center (NSSC).
Accomplishing these two feats has been monumental, but to have a continued and broad impact, this work cannot be done alone or siloed. As a result, we are looking to expand these efforts further with the newly created First-Generation Coordinating Council, a collaboration among faculty and staff to build internal capacity supporting first-generation college students at MSU. This group will create actionable solutions and inform priorities to better serve our first-generation college students in alignment with MSU's institutional strategic plan. Our First-Generation Coordinating Council will begin this summer with faculty and staff but will grow to include students, families, alumni and donors.
If you would like to be considered for this opportunity or to join other efforts in support of the first-gen initiative, please complete our survey to indicate your interest.
I welcome questions or suggestions regarding this initiative and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Teams.
I look forward to working with you to advance our work for first-generation college students and supporting our first-gen Spartans on their path to graduation.