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.

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


Rebecca Hammer
San Jose, CA

Birth Country: South Korea
Decade of adoption: 1950s

My name is Rebecca Hammer, and I am 53 years old. I live in San Jose, California with my husband, a retired English teacher. We share four grown children and four grandchildren. I work as an administrative assistant for Pathways Health and Hospice in Sunnyvale, California.

I came to America 49 years ago from Seoul, Korea. My Korean name was Mi Rae Kim, though I was called Mita. It was 1956, and I was 3 years old. My adoption was sponsored by Christian missionaries who took me from the orphanage because I weighed only 14 pounds and was suffering from severe malnutrition. From time to time, I am still in contact with the American missionary with whom I lived for one year before coming to the United States. I know nothing of my birth parents except that my mother was Korean and my father was an American soldier.

Even though there is so much I do not know about my beginnings, I do have much to share: letters, photos and documents (many in Korean) from the orphanage in Seoul, from my adoption process through the International Social Service and from both the Korean and American governments. I was the first Korean orphan to come to Iowa in 1956 and have photos and newspaper clippings of my arrival there.

I have been so energized since looking at your Web site and now better understand why I know virtually nothing of my motherland. Many people never even guess that I am half-Korean. I think that, due to American sentiments at that time, my adoptive parents were more focused on "Americanizing" me than keeping me connected to my Korean heritage. In fact, except for liking Kim Chee, which I adore, I have absolutely no knowledge of Korea, its history, its culture or its language. I was told that my birth mother, for my survival, dropped me off at the Eden Orphanage in Seoul and walked away.

Becuase of your radio program, I suddenly feel as though a whole new opportunity to understand my past has opened before me. You have given me the impetus to do what I have before only thought about. I want to gather my documents and photos, piece as many details together as I can, and tell you my story with the dignity it deserves.

I have always felt the dichotomy of my existence. The keys to my past may remain forever unknown. I very likely could have died in Korea before my third birthday, but in being transported to America, I have thus far lived a rich, full life. I am lucky to be here.



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.