About Us

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@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 and Virtual Writing Retreats, 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 world who actively participate and engage with us every month. Our monthly Twitter chats are held on the last Tuesday of every month during Spring 2021.

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Meet the Founders

Lamesha C. Brown, Ph.D.
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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 graduate of the College Student Affairs Administration doctoral 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. Dr. Brown’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 director of advising, testing, & career services at St. Cloud Technical & Community College. Learn more about Dr. Brown at www.lameshabrown.com

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Raven K. Cokley, Ph.D.
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Raven K. Cokley, Ph.D., NCC, (she/her/hers) earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education at the University of Georgia. Dr. Cokley 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. Dr. Cokley 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. For her dissertation she studied 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. Dr. Cokley is currently an Assistant Professor at Clark Atlanta University. 

Jason K. Wallace, Ph.D.
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Dr. Jason K. Wallace (he/him) is an assistant professor of higher education in the Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs program at The University of Southern Mississippi. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Wallace is a proud first-generation college graduate - an accomplishment he owes primarily to his mother. Dr. Wallace’s scholarship centers on the experiences of Black people and the experiences of first-generation graduate students in higher education through a critical race and asset-based lens. He became a co-founder of @FirstGenDocs after recognizing the similarities between his experience as a first-year undergraduate student and a first-year doctoral student. Dr. Wallace holds a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Administration and a graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies from the Mary Frances Early College of Education at The University of Georgia. He received an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and a B.S. in Advertising and Public Relations from Texas Christian University. Dr. Wallace is also a proud alum of TRIO Student Support Services and Ronald E. McNair Scholars. Learn more about Dr. Wallace at www.drjkwallace.com.

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