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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

First-Generation Club promotes post-grad success for students

As students strive towards graduation, are they providing themselves with the tools they will need after obtaining a degree?
Haley Stalnaker is a board member on the Baldwin Wallace first-generation club. Stalnaker is a full time Baldwin Wallace student and is in Zeta Tau Alpha.
Mark Mercado
Haley Stalnaker is a board member on the Baldwin Wallace first-generation club. Stalnaker is a full time Baldwin Wallace student and is in Zeta Tau Alpha.

The First-Generation Club at Baldwin Wallace University provides students with important resources that can be used after graduation. 

Marsita Ferguson, director of the David and Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement and the First-Generation Student Club, said that the First-Gen club was officially formed two years ago with a goal to “support first generation students in their progress and in their professional and academic success.”  

Ferguson believes that the people that students meet play a vital role in the chances they receive in the future.  

“I can’t even explain how many opportunities I’ve gotten just because of who I know, not what I know,” Ferguson said. “Academics plays a big part, but who you know is really a key on how you move through life.”  

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Ferguson mentioned how the club is officially recognized by NASA, the national organization over student affairs.  

One of the main benefits that the council of the club receives is that the advisory council is paid, Ferguson said, and those who are not first-gen students can also be on first-gen council. 

Ferguson wants to make sure that every perspective is being heard, having positions open to anyone. 

Christy Walkuski, who has a doctorate in English, has been working at BW for 10 years, and she has played a vital role in the official start of the First-Generation Club. 

Walkuski mentioned how students want to get a job by themselves, but everyone else is looking for opportunities through connections that others have built. She also said how important it is for students to build skills outside of what they are studying. 

“Sometimes, you just have to help people put those pieces together and so those are all the kind of things that I think this initiative is hoping to do for students,” Walkuski said  

Switching over to the student side of the club, Haley Stalnaker, a junior marketing and international business major, is the communications team lead for the First-Generation advisory council.  

“I was a part of the first group of people to be on the advisory council.” Stalnaker said. 

The responsibilities for joining the advisory team “varies depending on what team you get put into,” Stalnaker said.  

“You have to learn how to work with other people and communicate your expectations, deadlines, how you want things to work and also just with leadership in general” Stalnaker said.  

Stalnaker has had a lot of trial and error in her line of work. “You’re learning how to work with people from different majors who have different communication styles, different work styles. So, you’re learning all of these valuable skills that are applicable to when you’re interviewing for jobs.” Stalnaker said. 

An important factor that the First-Generation Club offers is bringing in several admin and guest speakers that students can network with. Becoming involved with the club can be very easy, since the events are on campus on the first Friday of the month, Stalnaker said. 

Madison Nyiran, a philosophy and legal studies major, is also a first-gen student. Nyiran is heavily involved in the Supreme Court of the student government here at BW. 

Nyiran is not involved in the club, but she mentioned how she feels very supported by the Baldwin Wallace staff. The First-Generation Club is “a form of connection, which basically runs the world like connection is everything,” Nyiran said.  

Since Nyiran’s arrival here at BW, her schedule has not aligned with the club’s meetings. When asked if the club is something we need or want at BW, she said: “I don’t know if it’s a necessity, but it’s definitely like a good outlet. But it can only help people that want to be helped.”  

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