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What is a First Scholar?

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Matthew Deffendall, Director of First Generation Initiatives and Martina Martin, First Scholars Coordinator discuss the First Scholars program and its impact in this interview. Click the "play" button below to learn more.

First Scholars is a comprehensive program created specifically to address the holistic development of first generation students throughout their undergraduate college experience at the University of Kentucky. Our program based on theory and research includes multiple levels of support to address the unique challenges first generation students face.


ApplyStarting with an assessment-based selection process, students apply as high school seniors for admission to the selective program. Selected participants will engage in programming specifically designed for the first generation student.


Our programming includes:

The First Scholars Program at UK has been an affiliate of the national First Scholars Network of The Suder Foundation since 2009.