First-Generation Students Establish Advocacy CommitteeFebruary 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
For more information, contact:
Public Relations and Social Media Specialist
Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003
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