First-Gen Stories 

Faculty and Staff Stories

Reynolds employees many faculty and staff who were the first in their families to go to college. Click here to read some of their First-Gen stories.

Student Stories

We surveyed students and asked for their motivation to go to college and who or what made an impact. Here are their stories. 


Computer/Social Science

I plan to transfer to a 4-year college for a masters program. My children have influenced me to strive for greater things in my life. Part of those "greater things" is an education that will help me with my future career choice.


I plan to transfer to a 4-year college and become a travel nurse.


Human Services

I'd like to become a counseling assistant. I'm influenced by my son and my desire to be greater for him.



My grandma influenced me to go to college and meet my goal of getting a BSN.


Business Administration

I plan to obtain my B.S. in Business Administration while advancing in my current career. Being able to show my kids to never give up on their dreams has been the biggest influence and motivation for me.



My parents influenced me to go to college. I want to be a nurse.


Human Services

What influenced me to go to college was to prove to my grandson, who dropped out of school, that you are never too old to get an education. I plan to get a job working in the human services field.


General Studies

I have always had a thirst for knowledge, but my mom has always pushed me to do my best in school and to always want to learn more in life so that I can have a better life than she did. I want to continue taking college classes at VCU for Child Development and Psychology.


American Sign Language-English Interpretation AAS, American Sign Language/Deaf Studies AAS, and Career Studies Certificate in American Sign Language

I wanted to prove to myself that success is still possible in spite of the countless obstacles along the way. I want to become an ASL-ENG interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing community.


General Studies

My parents never went to college and they motivated me into being the first to go in the family. Also my grandpa influenced me as well , he always instilled in me that college was very important and he couldn't wait for me to go. He passed away my junior year in high school, so I am making it my goal to graduate college. I plan to transfer to a 4-year college and get my degree in mass communications.


Practical Nursing

My mother and grandmother influenced me to go to college. I want to start my career as a nurse and continue to pursue my human services degree.


Business Administration

My great aunt passed away from cancer 2 years ago. She worked 2 jobs at the age of 65 just to be able to survive and pay her bills. I do not want to live like that, struggling to pay bills. So this is the main reason that I would like to finish my degree, to better me and family. I plan to transfer to VCU to obtain a Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate.


Business Administration

I am influenced to succeed because of my son. I'd like to become a human resources manager.



My career goals are to work in the OR at St. Mary's Hospital, while my academic goals are to further my nursing education and obtain my masters in nursing at JMU. My parents encouraged me to go to college and have supported me every step of the way. I would not be where I am without them by my side.


Business Administration

I'd like to work in accounting. My goal is to creating generational wealth for my family.



I like to transfer to ODU for a Bachelors and then a Masters! I'm going to college because I wanted to care for myself and push my own limits.



I'm going to college for my parents--I want them to be proud. I'd like to be a pediatrician.


Small Business Management

I am going to college so that I can move up to a supervisory role at my current job. I'm influenced and encouraged by Darius Uzzell.


Medical Lab Technician

I'm going to college for myself and my family. I want to be able to work at the local hospital in my hometown and continue to further my education.


Associated of Science

My dad influenced me to go to college. I'd plan on attending VCU in the dental hygiene program.


Business Administration

I plan to transfer to ODU to complete a bachelors degree and continue education in my current line of work. Having daughters of my own influenced me to go to college.


Medical Records Coding Certification

My grandparents encouraged me to go to college. My goal is to take the certification in medical records coding.



I'm attending college in the hopes that higher education takes me away from poverty. I want to become a CRNA.


AAS in Early Childhood Development

I went to college because I have a love of learning and a desire to better myself through education. Growing up, both of my parents had dropped out of school, and while I loved them so much and have always been proud of how they raised me, I always wanted more opportunities for myself. Not only that but I wanted to go into education to help ensure more kids grow up loving to learn so they to some day pursue higher education and betterment.

My dreams are pursuing my Bachelors degree from JMU and then a teaching licensure in grades pre-K through 3. Maybe some day I'll even get my masters degree to be a literacy specialist.


Human Services Degree

I want to help people with mental health and substance abuse issues. My plan is to be a social worker and substance abuse counselor.


Teacher Preparation Program, Early Childhood Education certificate, and Early Childhood Development certificate.

I will complete my associate's degree in teacher prep and then apply for the nursing program at Reynolds. After I complete the nursing program, I plan on becoming a Diabetes Educator because I have a passion for teaching and health, especially because I have type 1 diabetes. I have always wanted to go to college for as long as I can remember, and I find a real since of pride in being not only being the first person in my family to go to college but also working and paying my way through my higher education.


Early Childhood Development AAS

My children influenced me to go to college , I want to be able to show them doesn't matter when you start but make sure you finish and pursue your dreams. I would like to find a job in my field and be able to work with young children.


Human Services

Having my child in 2017 influenced my decision to go to college. I'd like to be a counselor or social worker.


Business Administration

My mother encouraged me to go to college. I'd like to continue at a university for an accounting degree.



I want to be better, financially, so I am hoping to achieve my BSN.