First-gen UC undergrad beating the odds, finding her voice
December 7, 2022
Many non-traditional students find a home at the University of Cincinnati, and Emily O’Bryant is no exception. A student who comes from a history of displaced housing as a ward of the court, O’Bryant is a first-generation student pursuing her bachelor's degree in communications through the College of Arts and Sciences. “I am an independent student. My birth mom had me at 14 and I ended up in multiple homes throughout my childhood,” says O’Bryant. “Neither of my parents made it out of the eighth grade. I went through a few different types of care when I was younger all over the place, but as an adult I wanted to be better and do better.” Only 26 percent of first-generation students complete at least a bachelor’s degree, according to data from the Pew Research Center. In addition to the usual struggles associated with adjusting to college culture, there are myriad additional barriers that first generation can students face, including lack of support from family and peers, college preparedness, racial disparity and financial stability.