Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heather Horowitz, Ed.D

Committee Member

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D


The thematic concern for this thesis is the barriers impacting the retention and persistence of first-generation students of color. This concern is important because first generation students of color are attending college at a higher rate than continuing generation students of color. Research has shown that the retention drops at the second and third year which impacts persistence to graduation. The intervention for this thematic concern is a conference titled First to Finish. This one-day conference to be held once a semester was created to help address the barriers impacting these students. The conference would include workshops, networking events and a scholarship. This conference will leave students wanting to attend again and support their fellow peers. For higher education, this conference is something that can be adapted among the state system of higher education.