Campus News

'Behind the Blue': Martina Martin discusses UK’s first-gen students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2022) — Sometimes being first in something comes with its own unique set of challenges. Take, for example, the journey of being a first-generation college student, meaning neither of your parents earned a bachelor’s degree, regardless of siblings and other relatives. In many cases, first-gen students face psychological, academic, financial and social strains that other students don’t, and are statistically at-risk to leave college within the first three years.

At the University of Kentucky, nearly 1 in 4 incoming freshmen and 1 in 3 transfer students are first-generation college students. First-Generation Student Services supports first-generation students at UK from recruitment to graduation through research-based programs, resources, best practices and campuswide advocacy about the needs of students who are the first in their families to go to college. Advisors advocate for first-generation students within their colleges and collaborate with other campus offices to provide the best resources to promote the success of first-generation students at UK.

As associate director of Student Transitions and Family Programs, Martina Martin oversees current programming and new initiatives for first-generation and off-campus students.

In addition to her work with first-generation and off-campus students, Martin is a member of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education (KABHE). She is also involved with the Graduate and Professional School Showcase and Jamal Mashburn Scholarship Committee.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Martin talks about the challenges some first-gen students face, the resources available to them, the special bonds peer mentors build that help lead these students to success and more.

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For questions or comments about this or any other episode of “Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.