PNW First-Gen Pride Microgrant awardees announced!

June 8, 2023

The Center for Faculty Excellence, in partnership with Educational Opportunity Programs and the division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, is beyond excited to announce the recipients of our inaugural round of First-Gen Pride microgrants!

Offered as part of PNW’s initiative to address the needs of first-generation students, these grants support faculty and staff in developing differentiated curricular and co-curricular content and activities for first-gen students. The selection committee was enormously impressed by the enthusiasm and innovation displayed in the proposals we received.

Over $15,000 was awarded to faculty and staff in this first round of grants. This program has started many important conversations that will continue to shape instruction and programming at PNW. Congratulations to the recipients!

2023 Recipients

The ACUE-inspired 1st gen project: the reciprocal interview reinvented and other inspired teaching techniques for success in first-year experience and beyond

Matthew Bauman, Ezra Mutai and John Durocher

This project will leverage approaches from the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) in conjunction with reciprocal interviews for first-generation students in first-year experience courses. This would help PNW to gain clear data on how to remove barriers for first-generation students and to improve FYE experiences across multiple colleges.

Matthew Bauman

Matthew Bauman, Assistant Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Ezra Mutai

Ezra Mutai, Assistant Professor of Food and Nutrition


John Durocher, Nils K. Nelson Associate Professor of Integrative Human Health

Pathways to Success: First-Generation College Students’ Outcomes in a Regional University

Hubert Izienicki

Many of us at PNW are aware that that first-generation college students exist, but few actually know the specifics of their experiences. Using a survey, the goal of this project is to bridge that gap and examine in detail what life is like for first-generation students in our university.


Hubert Izienicki, Associate Professor of Sociology

Fostering Belongingness Among First-Generation College Students in a First-Year Experience Course

Patrick Keegan

This project is a targeted intervention to increase first-generation college students’ sense of belonging in a first-year experience course and help them persist in their academic studies.

Patrick Keegan

Patrick Keegan, Assistant Professor of Education

Empowering Dreamers:  Supporting First-Generation College Students’ Successful Entry into Teacher Education

Dave Pratt and Debra Pratt

Building relationships, providing support, and recognizing first-generation students interested in becoming teachers is the central focus for this proposal. More specifically, this micro-grant funding will support an introductory success workshop, a mid-semester check-in lunch, and reception in December to celebrate the successful entry into a teacher education program.

Dave Pratt is pictured.

David Pratt, Associate Professor of Education

Debra Pratt

Debra Hollingsworth Pratt, Continuing Lecturer of Education

Inclusive Syllabus Review: Language to Support First Generation Students

Vanessa Quinn and Afshin Zahraee

The syllabus is the first point of contact a student makes with instructors and courses. The language used provides additional support to navigate unfamiliar jargon, policies, and procedures in higher education. We will score STEM syllabi to provide examples of strategies to improve the inclusive tone of the syllabus.

Vanessa Quinn

Vanessa Quinn, Associate Dean; Professor of Biology

Afshin Zahraee

Afshin Zahraee, Assistant Professor, Construction Engineering & Management Technology

Construction Engineering and Management Technology First-Generation Industry Immersion and Support Program (CEMT-FGIISP)

Afshin Zahraee, Cheng Zhang and Don Duncan

The CEMT First-Generation Industry Immersion and Support Program aims to holistically support first-generation college students in the Construction Engineering and Management Technology (CEMT) program by providing an integrated experience that combines industry exposure through networking events and hands-on learning opportunities including industry field trips.

Afshin Zahraee

Afshin Zahraee, Assistant Professor, Construction Engineering & Management Technology

Image of Chen Zhang, Ph.D.

Cheng Zhang, Assistant Professor, Construction Engineering and Management Technology

Donald Duncan

Donald Duncan, Lecturer, Construction Engineering and Management Technology