The first to attend college in an extended family of more than 50 people, Janette Conde served as the translator for her Colombian immigrant parents during their visits “to the few doctors who would see them,” starting when she was still in grade school. Prescriptions were often filled at underground pharmacies that sold antibiotics and medications near or past their expiration date, but were a common lifeline to those without medical coverage.
Five First-Generation College Students in Einstein’s Class of 2022 Share Stories of Resilience
Among the nearly 200 medical and graduate students in Einstein’s Class of 2022, more than a dozen are the first in their families to graduate from college. Navigating the world of admission exams and essays was challenging enough. Then came the even steeper learning curve of how to prepare for and thrive in medical school.
“Words like grit and determination come to mind when talking about first-generation college students — there’s a lot of internal drive and motivation,” says Allison Ludwig, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Einstein and a hospitalist at Jacobi Medical Center. “I think there's a feeling of responsibility, of carrying this educational burden on their shoulders.”
At Einstein, first-generation college students make up between 3% and 14% of each of the four current classes.
“Graduating as an MD for a first-generation college graduate is the final overcoming of all challenges,” says Mimoza Meholli, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Einstein and a hospitalist at Jacobi Medical Center. “Their success is their family’s success. It represents hope and inspiration, along with a better future.”
As they prepare to graduate later this month after years of hard work, five first-generation college students in Einstein’s Class of 2022 share the stories of their journey to commencement:
Words like grit and determination come to mind when talking about first-generation college students—there’s a lot of internal drive and motivation.