Campus Advisory Access the latest updates, FAQs, and resources for the Adelphi community on the global coronavirus pandemic. » COVID-19 Updates

Coronavirus Updates on Operations: Department or campus operations may be modified during this time. Please call or email the department for more information or visit



March 2, 2020

For First-Generation Students, Support Leads to Success

Current sophomore Carla Ojeda is the first in her family to attend college.

As the first in her family to attend college, Carla Ojeda faced a great deal of pressure to succeed. In addition to blazing her own path, she’d be setting an example for her two younger sisters. So before she even started at Adelphi University, she frequently visited the campus to ask questions and receive help.

“What am I going to do about financial aid? How do I choose the right courses? All the questions that I would ask older siblings or my parents, I could ask Adelphi faculty,” said Ojeda, now a sophomore. “And I’m really grateful, because I got all my questions answered.”

Providing Personalized Support

Adelphi supports first-generation college students through a range of programs and resources, like the Mentoring Program and the College Science Advancement Program, which supports underrepresented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with workshops and research opportunities. Adelphi also runs the Hispanic Community Partnership Program, inviting Hispanic high school students from local schools to get a taste of college life through a weekend of events at Adelphi.

“For first-generation college students, this might be their first time away from home,” said Chotsani West, MA ’07, executive director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “They may be hesitant to ask questions because they think everyone around them knows the answer. We give them the comfort to know that they can ask questions and receive personalized support.”

The Power of Mentoring

Mario Romero Ramirez, a first-generation college student who graduated in 2019, thanks the Mentoring Program for helping him navigate his Adelphi experience. The program pairs students with a faculty member or alumnus for one-to-one meetings. In his junior year, Ramirez was paired with adjunct business professor Joseph Celentano, MBA ’04.

“In the first meeting, he said, ‘I’m just here to listen. And if you need help with something, I’ll help,'” Ramirez said. “I’d never had anyone respect my time like that. I thought, ‘Wow, not only does this person really care about me, but there’s a whole program dedicated to students specifically in my position who need some help finding their direction.’ Without his support and advice, I wouldn’t have made the choices that led me to where I am now.”

Ramirez is now studying for his LSAT exam in hopes of attending law school, and he plans to apply to be an alumni mentor for Adelphi.

“Adelphi made me more comfortable with the idea that I’m allowed to express myself,” Ramirez said. “I’m allowed to express my ideology, my background and my struggles without having to feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my back.”

Going forward, West hopes to expand Adelphi’s support by gathering more feedback from first-generation college students about what programs they’d like to see—and which questions they need answered.

“I know that, in the future, I’m always going to have questions,” Ojeda said. “There are always going to be new things for me to do and discover. And now I’m confident enough to know that when those questions arise, I’m in the right place to ask them.”


Want to read more stories like this?


From My Desk: News From the President   Browse by Topic

About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e –