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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 social justice leaders. 

Fellows receive hands-on civil rights experience, participate in weekly advocacy training and professional development seminars, and join a growing community of emerging leaders in the FirstGEN Alumni Network. 

Fellows are placed with the national Lawyers’ Committee and its partners at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJCCatholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). Applicants should be dedicated to pursuing careers in the social justice field a possess a track record of public service through volunteer work or community service. People of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are strongly encouraged to apply.   

For more information, email us at [email protected]  


FirstGEN Fellows Class of 2021

Natalie Tran – Middlebury College ‘23

Natalie Tran is a rising junior at Middlebury College majoring in political science and education, and is on track to earn a secondary teaching license in social studies. Natalie was previously an orientation intern at Middlebury, where she worked towards building an inclusive community that welcomed students of all backgrounds and identities.

Claudia Theagene – SUNY Plattsburgh ‘21

Claudia Theagene is a recent graduate of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where she majored in political science and minored in both legal and Africana studies. During her college career, she was a part of the National Black Law Student Association, Residence Life, and Student Government.

Sonia Paz Canton – Georgetown University ‘23

Sonia Paz Canton is currently a junior at Georgetown University, majoring in culture and politics with a concentration in human rights and certificate in diplomacy. Upon completion of her degree, Sonia hopes to attend law school to better understand how to serve those in her community, specifically immigrants like her.

Rabiya Ismail – Tufts University ‘22

Rabiya Ismail is a rising senior at Tufts University majoring in political science and English, with a minor in peace and justice studies. She is passionate about issues pertaining to immigration, homelessness, and inequity in education. She strives for intentionality, which means including diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of learning.

Nghi Lam – Colorado College ‘23

Nghi Lam is a junior at Colorado College majoring in feminist and gender studies. Before FirstGEN, Nghi worked at Yum Yum Morale, an anti-racism workplace consultancy as project manager. She also speaks Mandarin and Vietnamese, and hopes to connect with Asian American mentors and empower the Asian American community.


FirstGEN Alumni

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