A Leap of Faith: Documenting the First-Generation Undergraduate Experience

From the Curator

Paul Headshot

Paul Popa

Trinity '17

It has been an incredible honor to create this exhibit for the Rubenstein Library at Duke University, and I am very grateful to have this opportunity to share the stories of fellow first-generation Blue Devils to the Duke community and beyond. I first stepped foot on Duke's campus in the fall of 2014, a first-generation American and first-generation college student. I was timid, overwhelmed by it all, and quite unsure of how to begin my career as an undergraduate. But as I later found out, I wasn't alone. There are students just like me out there, and each fall, a new class of students arrives on campus with the same timidity I had, hoping for the best, and looking around for a safety net to catch them if they fall.

It is my hope that this exhibit will encourage other first-generation students to share their stories proudly and continue pursuing their dreams. I dedicate this exhibit to all first-generation students, and hope that you will continue moving forward, encouraging others to take that leap of faith for themselves. For everything you have done, I send my sincerest thanks and warmest regards.

Paul Popa

Trinity College, Class of 2017