Film Follows Challenges, Triumphs of First Generation University Students

Movie post for First Generation movie
Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 3:39pm
Blake Eligh

UTM’s Student Life team will screen higher education documentary film First Generation this week as part of a transition program aimed at students who are studying towards a degree and whose parents or guardian did not complete a post-secondary education in Canada.

Narrated by actor Blair Underwood, the 95-minute film follows four high school students—an inner-city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer and the daughter of migrant field works—as they set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities by pursing a college education.

Two screenings are scheduled:

  • Thursday, Oct. 2, in IB 355 at 6:00 p.m
  • Friday, Oct. 3, IB 345 at 12 noon

The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion featuring first-hand accounts of the challenges and successes of life as a first generation student. Tonight’s panel includes UTM lecturer and former first generation student Ken Derry and current first generation student Abisola Olaniyi (fourth-year psychology)

Friday’s panel includes UTM lecturer and former first generation student Chester Scoville along with current first generation students Abisola Olaniyi (fourth-year psychology major), Zoya Tahir (fifth-year biology major) and Lakeisha Sankano (political science major).

The film is just one of the activities planned by the First in the Family at UTM initiative. Coming up this fall, the First Cup mentorship program will pair current first generation students with staff, faculty or alumni who are former first generation students. Through the program, students and mentors will meet for informal coffee chats to discuss challenges and share advice as part of an effort to help first generation students navigate the challenges of university life.