American RadioWorks |
Image: Harvard First Generation Student Union Facebook Page.

The First Gen Movement

Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.

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American RadioWorks |
Image: Harvard First Generation Student Union Facebook Page.

The First Gen Movement

Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.

Recent Posts

  • 04.15.15

    The Lost Children of Katrina

    In the year following Hurricane Katrina, 30 percent of displaced children were either not enrolled in school or not attending regularly. Today, Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults who are neither in school nor working. And researchers are starting to ask: could the widespread gaps in schooling after Katrina be the reason?
  • 04.08.15

    Saving a Women’s College from Closure

    Last month the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school will shut its doors at the end of this term, due to financial difficulties. The announcement was made abruptly, sending the campus community into a state of shock... and then activism.
  • 04.01.15

    The Future of College

    Kevin Carey's book "The End of College" is stirring up debate in higher ed circles. This week, a response to the book by a critic.
  • 03.25.15

    The End of College or the University of Everywhere

    When education policy wonk Kevin Carey looks into the future, he sees the end of traditional colleges and universities and he says that's a good thing.


Adoption stories


Jeanne Strong
Richmond, VA

Birth Country: Kazakhstan
Decade of adoption: 1990s

I am a single white woman from the South. My original story is not that unusual, unfortunately. You see, the one thing that I had wanted since I was a little girl was to "have" my own baby. Of course, as I grew older, I accumulated other dreams, but my child was always smiling confidently in the background. The unfortunate part was that the creation of this person continued to escape my grasp. It seemed my body was not in sync with my dream.

I continued through life knowing that it would be impossible for me to never hear someone call me "Mommy."

I will never forget that day in April of 1999. I was on my way home when I stopped at a shopping center. I almost didn't stop because I was tired and needed to get some things done at home, but at the last minute I swerved into the right lane, barely missing some irritated drivers. As I walked into the store, I noticed a child's sweet face staring at me from a poster. As I looked closer, I realized it was about an informational meeting regarding international adoption.

I copied down the information, made a phone call and ended up at a meeting a couple of days later. Everything seemed to move quickly for a while. I met with people from the adoption agency, filled out forms, did a home study and poured over photos of beautiful children, all of whom were in need of a home. It did feel a bit strange to look at these pictures in an attempt to "pick out" a child, but that is how the procedure was presented to me. All of the children that I was shown were from Russia.

I had "chosen" a baby girl who looked a bit as I did when I was a baby, but at the last minute, I was shown a snap shot of this wise, calm looking little soul behind these crib bars of peeling paint. Her pants were held onto her ankles with rubber bands and her sleeves were in shreds, but there she sat staring at the camera with such a peaceful look on her face. This was my daughter and she was just waiting for me to bring her home where she had always belonged. That was in September 1999, one month before her first birthday.

My daughter is now six-years-old and beginning the first grade. She is happy, healthy, energetic, bright, funny, stubborn and beautiful. She is a blend of Asian and Caucasian with almond shaped brown eyes and straight dark brown hair, while I am very fair with blue eyes and reddish brown hair. The difference seems to go unnoticed by most or if noted, then to a small degree. But everyone knows about her adoption. It is a story I am proud to tell again and again.

When my daughter gets older and wants to visit her place of birth (Pavlodar, Kazakhstan), then we will together. It is her every right to own all of the knowledge regarding her pre-beginning with me that we can aquire. At the time of the adoption, I received as much information as was available about her birth parents. I feel so lucky that this was an option for my daughter and myself. I have contemplated international adoption again. It is a distinct possibility. But for today I am very, very happy to be going to pick up my daughter from school.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
Image: Harvard First Generation Student Union Facebook Page.

The First Gen Movement

Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.

Recent Posts

  • 04.15.15

    The Lost Children of Katrina

    In the year following Hurricane Katrina, 30 percent of displaced children were either not enrolled in school or not attending regularly. Today, Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults who are neither in school nor working. And researchers are starting to ask: could the widespread gaps in schooling after Katrina be the reason?
  • 04.08.15

    Saving a Women’s College from Closure

    Last month the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school will shut its doors at the end of this term, due to financial difficulties. The announcement was made abruptly, sending the campus community into a state of shock... and then activism.
  • 04.01.15

    The Future of College

    Kevin Carey's book "The End of College" is stirring up debate in higher ed circles. This week, a response to the book by a critic.
  • 03.25.15

    The End of College or the University of Everywhere

    When education policy wonk Kevin Carey looks into the future, he sees the end of traditional colleges and universities and he says that's a good thing.