Identifying, understanding, and supporting diverse first-generation scholars in linguistics


  • David Bowie University of Alaska, Anchorage
  • Joshua Dees University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Luis Gaytan University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Iara Mantenuto California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Miranda McCarvel Smith College
  • Tran Truong Pennsylvania State University



first-generation students, diversity, equity, inclusion, intersectionality, hidden curriculum, scholarship of teaching and learning, mentorship, higher education


One in three college graduates is in the first generation of their family to complete a bachelor’s degree (NCES 2016), including 27% of doctoral students (CGS 2022) and 28% of tenure-track faculty (Morgan et al. 2022). Although there exists ample diversity of perspective and experience among first-generation students, relative to continuing-generation students, they are more likely to work full-time, care for dependents, and/or contribute to the income of their households. They are also more likely to be older, lower-income, racially minoritized, and to have graduated from community colleges. These factors provide first-generation linguists with unique forms of cultural and symbolic capital that often go undervalued in academia. We demonstrate how faculty can establish effective and nurturing mentoring relationships with first-generation students, how first-generation graduate students and faculty can maintain a work-life balance, and how to use tailor-made case studies to increase the visibility of generation-based educational inequity. Our perspective emphasizes structural barriers over individual shortcomings and uplifts first-generation voices in a variety of academic roles and institutional contexts within linguistics and allied disciplines.


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How to Cite

Bowie, David, Joshua Dees, Luis Gaytan, Iara Mantenuto, Miranda McCarvel, and Tran Truong. 2024. “Identifying, Understanding, and Supporting Diverse First-Generation Scholars in Linguistics”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5712.