First-Generation College Student Advocacy Committee Established
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First-Generation Students Establish Advocacy Committee

February 22, 2022

Four PCOM South Georgia students have joined a committee that creates opportunities and advocates for first-generation students. The First-Generation Committee was founded under the Student Government Association to increase academic equity for individuals who identify as first-generation students. First-generation students can be defined in several ways. The committee caters to those who identify as:

  • The first in their family to attend and graduate from college.
  • The first in their family to attend graduate professional school (medical or graduate studies such as osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, psychologyy, biomedical sciences and more)
  • The first in their family to attend school in the United States.

First-generation students often experience struggles and obstacles that their peers do not. PCOM South Georgia students say they joined the committee to help guide and equip their fellow first-generation peers as well as individuals in the Moultrie community. The committee aims to create a mentorship program between the medical students, biomedical students and physicians and hopes to serve and guide the first-generation students in the Moultrie community who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

Learn more about the group leaders, their roles within the committee and their experiences as first-generation students.

First-Gen Students Committee Chair and osteopathic medical student Georgina Boateng (DO ’25)Georgina Boateng (DO ’25) - Committee Chair

As the chair, I work to find new projects, identify barriers and extend the reach of first-generation resources that exist for students in our school. I also have a role in ensuring that first-generation student needs are met.

I was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, and I came to the United States at the age of 13. I am the first in my family to graduate middle, high school, college, and the first person in my family, both nuclear and extended, to attend medical school. I can attest that being a first-generation student definitely comes with difficulty. It is difficult as it is when you are born and raised in the United States, but it is even more challenging when immigrating to a foreign country whose system is completely and totally unfamiliar. It was those experiences that propelled me to get involved in this committee. I wanted to be resourceful and help others that have had similar experiences, like me, as they pursue their dreams.

First-Gen Students Committee Mentorship and Networking Leader and osteopathic medical student JaLisa Jones (DO ’25)
JaLisa Jones (DO ’25) - Mentorship and Networking Leader

I’m responsible for organizing a mentorship program for incoming first-generation PCOM students to give them the best opportunity for success.

As first-generation students, professional school requires us to be even more courageous and resilient in pursuing our career aspirations. For these reasons, it took me years to finally decide to pursue medicine. Yes, it is difficult, but as a first-generation student, I am reminded daily that I can and will become the first physician in my family! I want to be a resource and a source of inspiration for my peers and prospective students. Yes, we may lack the role models within our family unit, however, through networking and mentorship, we are able to learn and become the healthcare professional we desire to be.

First-Gen Students Committee Leader of the Support and Advocacy Subcommittee and grad student Didem Aydin (MS/BS ’23)
Didem Aydin (MS/BS ’23) - Leader of the Support and Advocacy Subcommittee

As a leader of this subcommittee, I speak with physicians, faculty and mentors to raise awareness about our needs as first-generation students.

I am a first-generation US citizen who comes from Turkish immigrant parents. I often experienced obstacles that many others didn’t, such as needing help with homework when English was my parents’ second language. Despite the minor setbacks, I am the first in my family to attend graduate school, and I want to encourage other students who are first-generation with diverse backgrounds at PCOM to find mentors and support as our community grows.

First-Gen Students Committee Community Engagement Leader and medical student Schiley Pierre Louis (DO ’25)
Schiley Pierre Louis (DO ’25) - Community Engagement Leader

I serve as the community engagement leader on the committee, seeking out ways for PCOM South Georgia’s first-generation students to serve first-generation individuals in the Moultrie area. 

I immigrated to the United States in 2010, just in time to start high school. Four years later, I became the first person in my family to graduate. I learned that I was a trailblazer throughout these four years as well as the following years in undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Florida. As a first-generation college graduate, I take great pride in empowering students who are earlier on in their educational journey. My experiences as a first-generation college student have taught me invaluable lessons—lessons that I hope to pass on to future generations. Though I am proud of myself for the challenges I have overcome, I know that the most note-worthy action I can take with the knowledge I have gained is sharing it with others.

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit or call 229-668-3110.

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