First-Gen at WSU: Bobby Berry

Wichita State University is home to nearly 5,000 first-generation students, individuals whose caregivers weren't able to complete a college degree and who lack the firsthand experience to tackle college life. To help with their transition, Wichita State offers a number of resources to first-gen students to support them during their time in college, including F1RST GEN SHOCKERS.

Hear from Bobby Berry, assistant dean for the College of Applied Studies and a current employee at Wichita State who went to college as a first-gen student, about the first-gen experience.


Boston, Massachusetts

Major in college

Bachelor’s: Exercise Science, minor in Sport Management. Master’s: Exercise Science. Doctorate: Educational Leadership

What does being first gen mean to you?

Being first gen to me means opportunity. Opportunity to blaze your own path, opportunity to create your own narrative and the opportunity to inspire others.

How has your first gen experience inspired you?

My experience was different; I never knew I was first gen until I was a working professional at WSU. It was eye opening, looking back and realizing all of the resources I wish I would’ve taken advantage of. My experience has inspired me to advocate more intentionally for those on this campus. As chair of the First-Generation Coordinating Council, this is a full circle moment.

Why does advocating for first gen matter?

Advocating for first gen matters because many of our first-gen students may not be in environments where they can advocate for themselves. As an institution where almost half of the student body is first generation it is vital those voices are elevated.

What can faculty and staff do to help first-gen students?

Get involved and be an ally. The intersectionality of first-gen students is pretty dynamic on our campus. Truly take the time to know the students you serve and don’t be afraid to be adaptable.

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling more than 23,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

For more information, follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at

Read more stories like this