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Seminar Series - First Generation Professionals Program

Students in Classroom

First Generation Professionals' Program:
Proposed Seminar Series (2015-2016 Offerings)

This year, the USC First Generation Professionals Program will offer the following sessions to FGP students.

A Healthy Sense of Entitlement

October 14, 2015 | Room 2 | 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Featuring student perspectives from Shana Emile '17 and Thai Phan '16.

First Generation Professional students (FGP) often face challenges in the first weeks of school when they encounter more economically privileged students. In particular, some FGP students feel uncomfortable with the "sense of entitlement" other students project in the classroom and in social interactions. This session will cover body language, speaking styles and other issues that the FGP student may find off-putting when they encounter non-FGP students as well as classroom participation strategies that can make FGP students feel more empowered.

In short, presentation matters. This session will help the FGP student ensure that her work and her comments are well received by professors and peers. The session will also cover how to cope with potentially insensitive comments about class, race, immigration status and gender in the course of classroom discussions.



Public Interest Work and the First Generation Professional

March 9, 2016 | Room 130 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Featuring:

  1. Kim Baker Guillemet '05, Manager, Office Reentry, L.A. Mayor's Office of Public Safety
  2. Helen Tran '12, Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services

How should the FGP student define public interest work? Are there special pressures on the FGP student to join the private sector and become financial successful in order to assist their families? Do FGP students feel special pressure to perform public interest work to discharge perceived moral and ethical obligations to their home communities ? How can the FGP student negotiate these various pressures? This session explores the various ways public service work can be defined and describes various ways FGP students can structure their careers to include both public interest work and private sector experiences.



Gender and the First Generation Professional

March 23, 2016 | Room 130 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Featuring:

  1. Karen Grant-Selma '94, VP, Business & Legal Affairs, Universal Pictures
  2. Kathy Sanders '85, Partner, O'Melveny & Meyers

Research shows that women of color and working class women are more likely experience sexual harassment in the workplace or gender discrimination, making it especially important for FGP women to understand the basics of sexual harassment law and what remedies are available if problems develop over the course of their educational and professional careers. Discussions will also cover extra-legal remedies or ways one potentially can disrupt gender discrimination or sexual harassment prior to pursuing more formal remedies. Discussion will also cover workplace appearance issue and gender politics in the workplace.



In future semesters, the FGP program will offer the following sessions to FGP students.

School Work and Life Work

FGP students sometimes face more pressure from family to attend to family matters and family care than second and third generation professionals, in part because FGP students' families are less familiar with the demands of student life and the need to participate in student activities. Alternatively, FGP students are often at risk for extremely high rates of participation in political and social justice events, in part because these events sometimes offer welcome relief from the stresses FGP experience in the classroom. This session covers ways to ensure that the FGP student makes good choices about how to balance schoolwork and life work over the course of her educational career.

Public Interest Work and the First Generation Professional

How should FGP students define public interest work? Are there special pressures on FGP students to go into the private sector to ensure they reap the financial rewards of their parents' investment in their education? Are there special pressures on FGP student to do public interest work to ensure that they are perceived as working to empower their home communities? How can FGP students negotiate these various pressures?

Working Identity: Name Changes, Cultural Challenges and Other Assimilation Pressures

Corporate environments can sometimes be uncomfortable with cultural difference stemming from ethnic practices or class-based features. How should FGP negotiate assimilation pressures? Individual choice is an important part of this process, and participants will discuss strategies for determining how to develop an approach that feels authentic in negotiating spaces that are culturally different from the communities in which they grew up.

Gender and the First Generation Professional

Research shows that women of color and working class women are more likely experience sexual harassment in the workplace or gender discrimination, making it especially important for FGP women to understand the basics of sexual harassment law and what remedies are available if problems develop over the course of their educational and professional careers. Discussions will also cover extra-legal remedies or ways one potentially can disrupt gender discrimination or sexual harassment prior to pursuing more formal remedies.

Resume Writing for the First Generation Professional

First generation professionals often face special challenges when constructing a resume as the effort to address financial pressures or family responsibilities can sometimes result in a candidate's resume looking slightly different from her peers. However, FGP students also sometimes discount or ignore aspects of their experiences that employers find helpful in evaluating applicants. This workshop will encourage FGP candidates to re-evaluate their resumes to ensure they maximize their strengths and have suitable responses to questions that may arise when one's resume reflects a less traditional career or educational path.

Interviewing Skills

This seminar will cover the subtleties of the interview process, including developing rapport with an interviewer, microaggressions, microexpressions and ways to address culture and class-based bias in a professional manner.

The Interview Date

Although the days of Miss Manners have long since past, there are subtle decorum issues that can be helpful during an interview lunch or dinner or at other professional events. This session will cover common mistakes made at interview lunches and dinners and ways to avoid uncomfortable situations at professional events from cocktail parties to large-scale formal dinners.

Dressing the Part

Need braces? If you think the word braces refers to those metal brackets dentists use to straighten teenage teeth, you may want to attend this session. (Braces are actually suspenders.) This session will cover the finer points of dressing appropriately for the corporate environment, regional differences in corporate styles, and the politics of gender in the context of corporate dress codes.

Debt and the First Generation Professional

First generation professionals tend to graduate with higher debt levels than the average law student. However, with the wide range of internal and external programs available to assist with loan repayment or loan forgiveness, FGP students may find that the repayment process is substantially less onerous than one might fear. At this session representations from the financial aid office and practicing attorneys will offer advice and assistant in identifying relevant payment assistant programs. Speakers will also educate law students and young professionals about various approaches to debt repayment and the budgeting strategies necessary to set realistic repayment goals.

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