The First Gen Network began as an idea: let's bridge the personal and professional gap for first generation college graduates-turned-professionals. Why? While 30% of incoming college freshmen are first generation college students, only 11% of them will graduate within six years. Those of us who become professionals continue to face new challenges — from building social capital and robust networks to overcoming stigma and rising the ranks to leadership — while feeling more isolated and unrepresented in our background.

Our mission is threefold:

  1. Leverage our common experiences to provide each other with support;
  2. Advocate for diversity and inclusion of first generation college graduates across all industries
  3. Celebrate the incredible personal and professional achivements of our community.

Join the Network



Amanda Sol Peralta is a New York based product strategist at Live Grey and a first generation college graduate of Duke University (2012). She is a mentor for America Needs You and serves on the Marketing Advisory Committee of Connect with her on her website, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Kary Perez is a New York based Senior Strategist at TMI Strategy and a first generation college graduate of Rutgers University. Connect with her on Linkedin.

Amanda Lynn Wood is a San Francisco based events producer at Peerspace and a first generation college graduate Central Michigan University. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.



  • Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
  • Tyler Oakley, YouTube Phenomenon
  • Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice
  • David Rubenstein, Philanthropist & Co-Found of The Carlyle Group
  • Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder & CTO of Hubspot
  • Howard Shultz, Chairman & CEO of Starbucks
  • Gina Rodriguez, Actress & Activist
  • Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
  • Viola Davis, Emmy Award-Winning Actress
  • Robert Niblock, CEO of Lowe’s
  • Common, Rapper, Actor, Film Producer & Poet
  • Colin Powell, former Secretary of State & retired four-star general
  • Ruth Simmons, former president of Brown University
  • Oprah Winfrey, Queen & Philanthropist
  • David M. Kennedy, Pulitzer-Winning Historian
  • Mary Gordon, writer & Professor of English at Barnard College
  • Denzel Washington, Academy Award-Winning Actor
  • Donna Brazile, Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee
  • Andre Leon Talley, former editor-at-large for Vogue Magazine
  • ...and so many more! (send us a note if we missed someone)




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