The Foreign Service Journal, April 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2024 35 peers, according to data from NASPA (Student A airs Administrators in Higher Education). While parental income matters, the importance of an educated parent/guardian cannot be undervalued. It a ects the child’s educational outcomes and continues to provide bene ts for the remainder of the person’s life, including throughout a career. ese social bene ts include exposure to wide-ranging vocabulary in the household, access to quality primary and secondary schools, professional networks, the privilege of legacy admissions, access to quality health care, and food security, to name a few examples. To overcome these challenges, FirstGens have developed many valuable skills and abilities. Often, because they lack a nancial safety net, they are dedicated and driven to succeed. ey have no option to fail, because many fear adding to the burden of family members who are themselves sometimes struggling nancially. Many juggled multiple jobs while attending college and thus developed advanced multitasking, customer service, time management, and organizational skills. As a result, FirstGens may enter the professional environment with a wider skill set than those who have not had to work early in life. Many have learned to source and compete for scholarships, learning to tell their personal stories in a way that prepares them to share American stories to the world. Progress at State e State Department, as part of its e orts to promote diversity and inclusivity, now actively recruits FirstGens and community college students through targeted outreach with educational institutions. On Nov. 8, 2023, the department marked FirstGen Celebration Day and Week for the rst time in its history. In November, the Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM) hosted FirstGens@State members for a virtual “Ask Us Anything” session targeted at rst-generation student employee candidates. In addition, GTM highlighted on social media the inspiring story of Marta Youth’s journey from a rst-generation student to principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. In June 2023, GTM’s national recruiter for rstgeneration students invited FirstGens@State members to participate in NASPA’s Student Success Conferences to share their professional journeys into the State Department with academics, college career advisers, and students. GTM and FirstGens@State representatives discussed how this new employee organization was working to make the department the employer of choice for FirstGens. e national recruiter has also fostered partnerships with organizations serving FirstGens, including the Council for Opportunity in Education (, NASPA’s Center for First-Generation Student Success (https:// rstgen., and regional, state-level, and university programs that support FirstGens throughout their academic careers in an e ort to attract these underrepresented populations into federal service. Our members share the goal of fostering respect, dignity, and inclusion within the federal government. In August 2023, FirstGens@State held its rst listening session with experienced members of the department who are FirstGens. Members As first-generation professionals enjoy the benefits of upward social mobility, they are learning to live in a new environment that is dissociated from their home. FirstGens@State VP for Membership and FirstGen Flory “Yazmin” Ore receives an award from Ambassador Je—ry L. Flake at U.S. Embassy Ankara during a rotation as his sta— assistant in 2023. COURTESY OF SCOTT WINTON