1. Inspiring Stories of Determination and Success

Acting Dean Rich Schlesinger on Dyson College’s first-generation students and faculty.


2. The Road to Med School

Kenya Velez ’17 was born with educational opportunities her parents never dreamed of.

Velez earned a degree in Chemistry and became the first person in her family to graduate from college. With the unwaivering support of family and with dedicated mentorship, she is well on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a medical doctor.


3. First-Gen College Faculty: Maria Luskay

Like many Pace University students, Professor Maria Luskay, director of the Media and Communication Arts graduate program, is a first-generation college graduate and a go-getter.

Born in Yonkers, NY, she majored in Literature and Communications at Pace University’s Dyson College. Luskay sold used cars to support herself through her undergraduate career. Propelled by an indomitable spirit, Luskay never let the hard work of putting herself through college stop her from reaching her goals.


4. JPMorgan Chase Intern, First in Family to go to College 

Iliana Taormina ’18, a first-generation college student and a JPMorgan Chase intern, is an econ major researching Game Theory.


5. First Doctorate of Philosophy Degree Earned by First-gen

This year, Pace University conferred its first doctor of philosophy degrees. Sara Juncaj ’09 ’17, a first-generation college graduate, earned the PhD degree, which was given in Mental Health Counseling. This is her story.


6. First-Gen College Faculty: Amy Foerster

Amy Foerster, associate professor of Sociology and Anthropology, is a first-generation college graduate. She grew up in the small town Boerne, Texas where her dad was a bricklayer.

In this small town, the children of blue-collar workers were not considered to be college material, but Foerster prevailed, earning a PhD from an Ivy league institution.


7. Alumni, Faculty, and Student News

Read about the Dyson community’s latest achievements.