Why First2 Network?

with Senate Ed committee chair2
waiting for a meeting
F2 student research
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There are currently more job opportunities in STEM fields than there are qualified candidates to fill those positions in both West Virginia and the nation. In order to fill that gap we need to create a strong, robust and diverse STEM workforce. There are plenty of talented young people who are interested in STEM careers, many of whom are the first in their family to go to college.

The First2 Network knows that far too many of these students either do not successfully persist in STEM pathways through graduation or drop out of college entirely.  The first two years of college are a critical time for success in STEM pathways. By supporting rural, first-generation, and other underrepresented students to do well and by changing institutional policies and practices to better serve these students, we aim to improve persistence and graduation rates. 

By bringing together and elevating the voices of first generation and underrepresented students with representatives from colleges and universities, high schools, STEM industries, small businesses, government, non-profits, and other community partners, the First2 Network can identify and address the real challenges facing first-generation college students pursuing STEM pathways in West Virginia and beyond.

All students who participate in the First2 Network are regarded as student leaders; your voices, opinions, and insights are central to our work and can help change systems and practices that hinder STEM student success. Learn more about our opportunities for students here.

Campuses join First2 Network as a way to test, improve, and share change ideas to improve retention of first-gen and underrepresented students in STEM. First2 campus partners are also eligible to receive financial support from the First2 Network. Learn more about how to become a First2 campus here.

High School teachers and guidance counselors have a role to play in encouraging students to pursue STEM degrees and in ensuring that students are as well prepared for college as possible. Learn more about our opportunities for high school teachers here.

Industry partners help our network bridge the gap between career development and the workforce needs of the industry as well as support and mentor college students to persist in STEM programs. Learn more about our opportunities for STEM industry partners here.