Rafael Lopez, alumni (Oakes '05, women's studies)

A few years ago, as Rafael López, then a White House senior policy adviser, addressed an early-education and high-tech crowd in Silicon Valley, he realized the land on which he stood was where his mother and grandfather had once picked fruits and vegetables as farmworkers.

"Being first-generation and completing my BA means everything! It means we are paving the way for future generations to be able to see that we can and have been able to accomplish this, and that we do belong here..."   -- a 2018 graduating first-gen student

The First Generation Initiative seeks to collaboratively build a network of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who identify as first-generation or as supporters of our first-generation student population.

  • Read more about our goals.
  • Meet our first-gen alumni, faculty, staff, and students.
  • Join our effortOver 900 alumni, emeriti, faculty, staff, and students have already signed up to be part of this initiative.

For more information about the UC Santa Cruz First Generation Initiative, contact us via email at  

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