Meet the Founder

The founder of First Generation University, Shonda Goward, is passionate about first generation college students because she was one.  Shonda attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an out-of-state student, and graduated with a double major in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Science.  However, being a first generation student definitely presented challenges that were vastly different than those of her peers.

Upon completing a Master of Arts degree in English, Shonda began working in higher education as both a lecturer in writing, and admissions officer, and saw many students excited to be admitted to a university, but wholly unaware of what to do next or how to succeed in the classroom.  First Generation University is a reflection of her personal commitment to giving first generation, and other non-traditional students, agency when it comes to their success.

To contact please email: shonda  at