5th Annual AL1GN National Conference

Student Activities

Lowry Center

1189 Beall Ave.

Wooster, OH 44691

Phone: 330-263-2062


AL1GN Conference

AL1GN’s 5th Annual National Conference Alliance for the Low-Income and First-Generation Narrative

AL1GN is a national conference series dedicated to empowering first-generation and low-income (FGLI) students. AL1GN seeks to provide a forum on which FGLI students can take control of their own diverse narratives while working together with faculty and staff to spark new and revamped programming at their home institutions. Over the course of a weekend, participants exchange ideas, create new relationships with fellow student leaders and concerned staff, and develop the foundation on which impactful work can occur.

AL1GN began in 2015 as a coalition of FGLI students and the staff who support them, growing to now include hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and administrators from dozens of schools and organizations across the United States. Since 2015, we’ve held four annual national conferences at schools across the East Coast and look forward to expanding to new areas in the coming years.

This year, AL1GN 2021: The Danger of a Single Story will be hosted by the College of Wooster, April 9th–11th.

To safely host the AL1GN Conference in 2021, it will be held virtually over Zoom. This will allow us the opportunity to still connect and build community with First Generation and Limited Income students; as well, as the Faculty, Staff, and Administrators that support them.

Registration for the Conference is FREE and will open on March 15th, 2021.

Date/Time Program Name Description Presenters
Friday, April 9, 2021
6:30–8:15 PM EST

Opening Session: the Dangers of a Single Story


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Being first-generation and/or limited income is not easily visible, but it plays a large role in college experiences. Our opening session will illuminate the nuanced need of FGLI initiatives, resources, and assistance. Not every story is the same and the FGLI experience manifests differently in each person's time at college. There is a danger in the single story of the FGLI experience that prevents students' unique needs from being met.

Dr. Troy's session: Understanding the intersectionality of the first-generation student identity can be a driving factor in how we support first-generation students both inside and outside of the classroom. During this talk, Dr. Troy will discuss how her work in creating first-generation student support programming and advocating for first-generation students is informed by her own experiences as a black female first-generation college student from rural North Carolina. She will examine intersectionality of the first-generation student identity and how participants can shift from a deficit lens to both celebrating and valuing their diverse identities. This talk will also offer strategies on bringing your assets to the academy and how faculty/staff can support participants through programmatic approaches.

The College of Wooster's AL1GN Committee.

Speakers:Dr. Troy speaks 6:45 -7:30 and Dr. Lindsay Romasanta speaks 7:30-8:15. (Dr. Romasanta will be confirmed later in the week)


Students: Annelisea Brand, Savannah Sima, César Lopez, Maresa Taté, Camryn Bragg, Angela Danso Gyane, Zoie Billls

Staff: Dean Shadra Smith

8:30–9:30 PM EST

BIPOC First-Generation and Limited-Income Students in Higher Education

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This session facilitated by William Washington is meant to serve as a space for Black, Indigenous, and other students of color. William Washington of the Washington Wellness Institute

10:00 PM – 12:00 AM EST


Community Bonding Events To be announced closer to the conference dates.  
Saturday, April 10, 2021

11:00–12:00 PM EST

When Accessibility ain't so Accessibile


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With the rise in advocacy for creating more inclusive and accessibile learning environments for students in higher education, FGLI students are often left out of the narrative. This student-led discussion will focus on the intersections of being an FGLI student while also being a disabled indvidual. Inequities facing disabled FGLI students in higher education, possible familial and community resistance, and lack of adequate resources for disabled FGLI students will be explored. Space will also be given to participants to share their stories, struggles, and hopes for increasing accessibility at their home instituitons, hopefully allowing individuals to find community during their time at the AL1GN 2021 Conference. This session is open to all with priorty to disbaled, chronically ill, and/or neurodivergent FGLI students.

TW: ableism, mental illness, and violence against disabled individuals will be mentioned.

Presenter: Maresa Tate

Moderator: Angela Danso Gyane

1:00–2:00 PM EST

FGLI Faces in Uncommon Spaces


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This program will present a focused analysis and discussion on the underrepresentation of FGLI students within spaces on college and university campuses. Here, we hope to share initiatives in place on our campus—at the College of Wooster—that make space and create opporunities; for experiences, such as study abroad, exposure within STEM fields, and making health services more accessible to FGLI students.

Presenter: Camryn Bragg

Moderator: Maresa Taté

1:00–2:00 PM EST

DACA and Undocumented + First-Generation and Limited Income experiences within Institutes of Higher Education


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The Hispanic Organization Promoting Education is hosting a panel, of 4 Georgia college students, who have navigated the college application process and have experienced first-hand the particular obstacles and hardships that arise for Undocumented/DACA students in institutes of higher education.

Presenters: HoPe, Inc.
Cesar Lopez


3:00–4:00 PM EST

International Students within Narratives of First Generation and Limited Income Students


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This program centers the experiences of students who are both the First-Generation to/ or immigrants in the United States; as well as, First Generation Limited Income. This will include discussions and activities that will help to understand our peers in this position.

Presenter: Angela Danso Gyane

Moderator: Annelisea Brand

3:00–4:00 PM EST

FGLIQ: Where Queerness and the FGLI Experience Intersect

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Panel on the experiences of Queer and LGBTQIA+ FGLI students in Higher Education. This program is ran by students for students. This is an unrecorded session to ensure the safety of all parties attending. Please note that this session may cover topics that include mentions of Homophobia, Transphobia, Violence.

Presenters: Undergraduate Students at the College of Wooster

Moderator: Camryn Bragg 

4:30–5:30 PM EST

Student Mobility


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Analysis and Discussion of FGLI student mobility at their respective institutions based on resources, average income, and opportunities. The session highlights the perpetuation of pink and blue collar jobs that work-study students have available on campuses. Tools and resources will be shared and discussed to redistribute wealth and knowledge to empower FGLI students to start their potential for economic mobility.

Presenter: Annelisea Brand

Moderator: Maresa Taté

7:00–8:00 PM EST

Reclaiming 2021 : FGLI Students & COVID-19


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A critical review of sources, data, and COVID-19 impacts on higher education and FGLI students. This session will provide context, popculture, and research followed by an open discussion and brief period of time to develop solutions and warrant demands/necessities that FGLI students need in a pandemic.

Presenter: Annelisea Brand

Moderator: Cesar Lopez

8:30–9:45 PM EST

Following First-Gen Orgs. Across Campuses


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To express your interest in presenting please fill out this form.

Presentation that discusses the work being done by other first-generation organizations across the United States.

Presenters: The College of Wooster's First-Generation Student Organizations and other Guests.

Moderators: Maresa Taté and Cesar Lopez

10:00 PM–12:00 AM EST

Community Bonding Events

To be announced closer to the conference dates.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

11:00 AM–12:00 PM EST

Networking Event


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A networking event facilitated by the Wooster AL1GN Commitee to connect students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators across different campuses and communities. 

Facilitators: Maresa Taté and Cesar Lopez

Moderator: Savannah Sima

1:00–2:30 PM EST

Closing Session: Crafting New Narratives Moving Forward


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2020 and 2021 have been trying years for the FGLI community. Our experience and time as students will forever be marked by the pandemic and is compounded by our intersectional identities. Moving forward, how will you address the multiplicity of the FGLI experience? How will you reclaim and create a new narrative based on your own needs and at your school? The danger of a single FGLI story, or experience, ignores individual needs.

The point of this Keynote is a three layered process into individuality. Understanding your story, creating a value system that aligns with a system unprepared for you, and the ultimate step into humanity; autonomy. Our ability to find strength in our uniqueness yet find familiarity in others is a sign that we are aware and alive in this experience. Involvement is inevitable because you were born to stand out. Each story has a motive, and going through an educational system, it is demanded that a FGLI student finds strength in their story to make sense of their process of adaptation. There is no book that will prepare you for being who you are, but there is a story you get to write today and be an example of now.

Presenters: Annelisea Brand and Savannah Sima


Keynote Speaker: 

William Washington

Cesar Lopez

To learn more about AL1GN or about this year's conference please visit AL1GN on: