First Generation Students Find Homes at UB

Ashlica Malcolm

First generation college students have consistently found a place to thrive here at UB. Just ask future lawyer Ashlica Malcolm.

Students whose parents did not attend college, usually called “first-generation students,” often face challenges when coming to college themselves. This lack of college readiness can lead to low completion rates. To help first-gen students overcome this challenge, the University of Bridgeport’s college readiness programs meet it head on.

One such student is Ashlica Malcolm, who was born and raised in the Bronx as both a first-generation American, and as the first generation in her family to enroll in college. Malcolm describes the “close-knit, family vibe” at UB, which she witnessed at Accepted Students Day. “Being around the orientation leaders and student ambassadors, I loved seeing how much fun they were having with the accepted students and with each other. All of this mattered to me as a first-generation student because I knew I wanted to be at a University that wasn't too far from home, cared about its students, and had a diverse set of people from around the world who were also first-gen students like myself.”

One of the most important elements in Malcolm’s success was the Student Support Services (SSS) program, which among its many benefits allowed her to connect with other first-gen students. “At the University of Bridgeport, we have a large number of first-generation students that bring a unique set of experiences and perspectives to our classrooms and community,” says the Director of Student Support Services Chrystie A. Cruz. “We focus on supporting these students academically, financially, personally, and developmentally, and host events to highlight what it means to be first gen.”

The program seems to have worked. Malcolm became one of the most involved students at UB, working as a Resident Assistant, Orientation Captain, and Student Ambassador. She joined the Student Government Association and was a charter member of the Epsilon Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. And of course, her studies were not neglected, and she received the Alumni Association Scholarship and earned membership in the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society (charter member), Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, and the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Criminal Justice and Human Security in 2018, and was selected to be the student commencement speaker.

After graduating from UB, Malcolm went on to Quinnipiac University School of Law and is expected to receive her JD in May 2021. She remained just as active there as she was here,

joining the Society for Dispute Resolution and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, while acting as an Admissions Ambassador. She was selected to compete in the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition, where she won best petitioner’s brief and currently serves as the Community Outreach Chair for the Northeast Region of the Black Law Student Association.

“UB was the foundation of my formative years as a young woman on her way to success,” says Malcolm. “It gives me hope that UB can continue to grow and mold more first-gen students like me to believe and achieve the best versions of themselves.”