First-Gen Owls

First-Gen Owls: Lifting Off into Higher Education

Are you a first-generation college student (i.e.: neither parent has graduated with a 4-year degree)? “First-Gen Owls: Lifting Off into Higher Education” is a learning community designed with you in mind!

First-gen students possess valuable strengths and skill-sets that can aid their success in college and beyond. In this learning community, students will have the opportunity to develop a strong foundation for achieving their higher education goals, and build a lasting network of fellow first-gen peers, professors, and mentors who can help them make the most of their time at KSU.

Participants will enroll in up to three classes together for Fall 2018 (KSU First-Year Seminar, English 1101, and Latin American Studies 1102) and up to two classes together for Spring 2019 (English 1102 and History 2112). All courses fulfill general education requirements.

In their classes, students will learn about common aspects of the first-gen experience through the study of multimedia narratives by and about other first-gen students. Assignments will include a community-based learning project, where students will pass on their knowledge about college life to prospective university students. Additionally, professors will help students connect with scholarship, internship, and employment opportunities, as well as co-curricular experiences like undergraduate research, publishing, and study abroad.

If you’re looking for an edge as you take flight on your college journey, the “First-Gen Owls” Learning Community is here to welcome you to KSU! Call the Learning Communities office at (470)578-6243 to pre-enroll or for more information on class selections

Meet Your Professors

  • Donald A. Coleman Jr.
    Donald A. Coleman Jr. is a former first-generation college student that has dedicated his career to assisting students with a successful transition into college. He is a Part-time Instructor of Higher Education and Director of Orientation Programs here at Kennesaw State University. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Loyola University-Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. He is also an award-winning karaoke singer that interprets life through song and dance.
    • Stephanie Kartalopoulos
      Dr. Stephanie Kartalopoulos earned her PhD in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing and American Literature from the University of Missouri, where she was a Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry from 2008-2012. Her poems have been published and are forthcoming in national literary journals that include Comstock Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Laurel Review, and many others, and her first poetry collection, AMULET, was published in 2018 by St. Julian Press. Dr. Kartalopoulos has taught English at the college level for over 17 years, and her course offerings have spanned expository & academic writing, business & technical writing, literature, and poetry. Dr. Kartalopoulos has been teaching at KSU since the Fall 2016 semester and is very excited to be part of this learning community.
      • Lydia Ellen Laucella
        Lydia Ellen Laucella is the first in her family to pursue a Ph.D. In 2005, Lydia E. Laucella earned her B.A. in Political Science with a Focus in International Affairs with a Minor in French from Georgia State University; she graduated Magna cum Laude with Distinction in her Specified Major. In 2006, she graduated Summa cum Laude with her M.Ed. with Teacher Certification for Middle Childhood, Grades 4-8 from Georgia State University. Her thesis was: Art to Teach What? A Look at Urban Teachers’ Negative Perceptions of Using Hands-on, Art and Process Drama-Based Instruction to Teach Content Area. Currently, she is in her second year of her Ph.D. studies in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning, which she is completing online through the University at Buffalo-SUNY. She plans to focus her dissertation on motivation in the transition to college and first-generation college students. Lydia E. Laucella has been working with freshmen in higher education for more than three years. Seeing them grow and develop their own passions is why she loves to teach!