Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta Students Collaborate on First-Gen Podcast Series

To celebrate National First-Generation Day on November 8, Hartwick College launched First Things First, a five-episode series created through The Wick Cast, a podcast initiative launched last year by the Office of Career Development and Network Engagement. The new series was produced by Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta students and, through interviews with staff, faculty and alumni, explores several topics related to the challenges and issues facing first-generation college-goers.

Stephanie Hollander, associate director of career development and network engagement, was initially contacted by Christy Funsch, director of the SUNY Oneonta Career Development Center. Funsch wanted to learn more about The Wick Cast and to find topics on which students at both institutions could collaborate. Once they decided on the topic, it was time to recruit students.

Hartwick students involved in hosting this series were Katherine Coco ’26, Jadon Demeritte ’25, Avontae Palmer ’27, Kezia Namakula ’25 and Ben Hulbert ’24 aided in production.

“As a first-gen, I am trying to serve as a role model for my younger brother and younger cousins. I feel like I have a lot to live up to as a first-generation student, but I am happy with it because I want to be the person my younger brother and cousins can come to for advice.”

Kezia Namakula '25

Hollander says First Things First highlighted that being a first-generation student is a subject that needs to be talked about more. “We are hoping that this podcast can continue and be a way for students to connect from both campuses and build a network with one another,” she said.

Namakula ’25 added, “It was nice to hear different people’s perspectives on being a first gen and how they overcame obstacles.”

The new series and all the episodes of The Wick Cast can be found on the program’s Spotify page.

National First-Generation Day commemorates the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which expanded opportunities for historically disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue their college goals. Currently, 314 Hartwick students identify as being first-generation.

November 8, 2023
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