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The First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship Program, or FirstGEN, is a paid summer program for undergraduate students who are the first in their immediate families to attend college and who intend to pursue careers in social justice. Our mission is to identify and support first generation college students as they emerge into tomorrow’s leaders.

Fellows serve as summer interns with a FirstGEN Fellowship partner: the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under LawAdvancing Justice | AAJC, or the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). During the course of their internships, fellows receive hands-on experience advocating for civil rights, participate in training and professional development seminars, and join a growing community of emerging leaders in the FirstGEN Alumni Network.

Learn more below about the 2023 FirstGEN Fellows and have a look at their reflections on their experiences this summer.

For more information, email us at


FirstGEN Fellows Class of 2023

Alejandra Cabellero

Trinity University ‘24

Alejandra is a rising senior at Trinity University where she is double majoring in Political Science, Economics and minoring in Spanish. As an aspiring immigration lawyer, her passion lies in understanding policies that affect people from similar backgrounds as hers. At Trinity, she recently earned the Service and Leadership Award and the Roger Spencer Scholarship for Superior Performance. Alejandra loves to read and cook! Two of her favorite books are Just Mercy by BryanStevenson and We are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai.

Andy Flores

University of Mississippi ‘23

Andy is a proud first-generation college graduate from the University of Mississippi where he studied public policy leadership and philosophy. He is devoted to advancing educational opportunity and facilitating social progress in his home state of Mississippi. Andy is a 2022 Truman Scholar whose upbringing as a low-income Mexican/Afro-Panamanian informs his lifelong commitment to empowering and uplifting marginalized communities. He hopes to pursue a JD with a focus on education law and policy to ensure all students have equal access to a high-quality education.

Kathleen Hoang

Columbia University ‘25

As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and as a first-generation, low-income college student, Kathleen has been a lifelong advocate and political organizer for immigration and education rights. Originally from Houston, Texas, she is now studying human rights at Columbia University. Her research centers the intergenerational victims of chemical warfare in Vietnam. Formerly with OCA, March For Our Lives, the American Bar Foundation, and the Southeast Asian Freedom Network, she hopes to pursue an international development career in Southeast Asia after graduating.

FirstGEN Alumni

Alejandra Cabellero
Trinity University

Kathleen Hoang
Columbia University

Andy Flores
Barnard College

Jasmyne Brown
Spelman College

Victoria Cadostin
Barnard College

Batool Ibrahim
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Emma Ann Taverner
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Jeniffer Velazquez
University of Southern California

Natalie Tran
Middlebury College

Claudia Theagene
SUNY Plattsburgh

Sonia Paz Canton
Georgetown University

Rabiya Ismail
Tufts University

Nghi Lam
Colorado College

Kennedi Holloway
Ohio State University

Brittany Christian
Bridgewater State University

Sykina Butts
Delta State University

Alexia Sanchez Garcia
The University of Iowa

Melissa Denizard
Babson College

Mikael Morelion
Brown University

Lara Adekeye
Boston University

Rula Thabata
Loyola University New Orleans

Cindy Reyes
University of Pennsylvania

Tauheed Islam
Harvard University

Alondra Vazquez Lopez
Yale University

Jazmine Lahbabi
University of California, Irvine

Berenice Davila Gonzalez
Berea College

Daisy Almonte
Duke University

Angelica Mercado
Mount Holyoke College

Melinda Nguyen
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jennifer Quan
Tulane University

Leslie Diaz
University of California, Los Angeles

Veronica Fernandez-Diaz
Colorado College

Deborah Johnson
Oberlin College

Nahlee Lin
Pomona College

America Morales
Wesleyan University

Rhajaa Wright
Duke University

Megan Brookens
University of Pennsylvania

Sanah Jivani
University of Texas, San Antonio

Dianne Kaiyoorawongs
Yale University

Raymond Magsaysay
Vassar College

Renata Mauriz
Brown University

Isaura Amezcua
Georgetown University

Rafael Medina
University of California, Los Angeles

Mayra Melendez
Salisbury University

Lorenza Ramirez
Tufts University

Teofanny Saragi
Pomona College

Emily Taing
University of California, Los Angeles

Karen Vallejos
Southwestern Adventist University

Karla Davis
MidAmerica Nazarene University

Nirvana Felix
University of California, Berkeley

Genesis Garfio
Columbia University

Juan Rangel
University of Notre Dame

Tania Chairez
University of Pennsylvania

Najaah Daniels
St. John’s University