About Us

#FirstGenDocs began as a grassroots response to the challenges and victories of first-generation doctoral students. While Jason and Lamesha are both first-gen college graduates, Raven identifies as a second-gen college grad. After several discussions, the three founders discovered that they had very similar experiences as #firstgendocs in academia.

We facilitate monthly Twitter chats, where we engage first-gen doctoral scholars about issues that are unique to the #firstgendocs experience. We are proud to have community members across the nation who actively participate and engage with us every month. Our monthly Twitter chats are held on the first Thursday of every month for the Fall 2018 semester.

Meet Raven, Jason, and Lamesha!

Raven K. Cokley, M.Ed., NCC, (she/her/hers) is a third-year doctoral candidate in Counselor Education at the University of Georgia. Raven is a 2018 NBCC Minority Doctoral Fellow and a Board Certified Counselor. She identifies as a second-gen college grad and a first-gen academic. Raven joined the #firstgendocs team after realizing that her experiences being a second-gen college grad from a single-parent home were very similar to those of her colleagues who identified as first-gen. Her research focuses on the experiences of  high-achieving Black girls, Black first-gen doc students, and counselor educators’ roles in the Black Lives Matter movement. Raven is currently working on her dissertation proposal, where she is studying how Ghanaian contexts of learning and achievement can inform and transform educational practices as it pertains to high-achieving Black girls in the U.S. Follow her on Twitter @brilliantblkgrl

Jason K. Wallace (he/him/his) is a third-year doctoral student in the College Student Affairs Administration Ph.D. program at the University of Georgia (UGA). Jason also serves as the doctoral intern for the Emory Integrity Project as well as the Office of RACE at Emory University. He identifies as a first-generation college and doctoral student as he was the first in his immediate family to receive a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and to pursue a doctorate. Jason became a co-founder of #firstgendocs after recognizing the similarities between his experiences as a first-year undergraduate student and his experiences as a first-year doctoral student. His research interests include experiences first-generation doctoral students, attrition among Student Affairs professionals, and exploring issues of equity and social justice in collegiate settings. He is currently exploring the intersection of race and first-generation status for Black students pursuing research-based doctorates at historically white institutions. Follow him on Twitter @MrJKWallace

Lamesha C. Brown, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), was the first person in her immediate family to attend college and receive a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree. She is a recent graduate of the College Student Affairs Administration program at the University of Georgia. She became a co-founder of #firstgendocs due to her struggles as a first-gen doc student and desire to learn more about the experiences of other first-gen docs. Her research and scholarship interests include Black college women and colorism; Black women in higher education; retention and persistence; college access; equity and social justice; and the intersections of having both privileged and oppressed identities. Lamesha’s dissertation research focused on the experiences of first-generation Black women in doctoral programs and their persistence at a predominantly white institution. She is currently the inaugural director of student success and academic advising at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Follow her on Twitter @LCB_PHD.