Professor Bernier Awarded Grant to Study First Generation Graduate Students


San José State University School of Information Professor Anthony Bernier was awarded a 2018-2019 $2,500 American Library Association Diversity Research grant to develop an evidence-based analysis of first generation online library and information science graduate students. The data will provide much needed information about the unique journey of master’s degree program students making family history.

Bernier’s research project, “Searching for First Generation LIS Student Success,” begins this summer and will continue through the fall 2018 semester. iSchool graduate students will assist Bernier in conducting and recording interviews of online first generation students.

A literature review and analysis will be presented during a panel discussion at ALA’s 2019 Midwinter Meeting and at the Association for Library and Information Science Education conference in fall 2020. Bernier will also publish a brief article in a future issue of American Libraries magazine and share his research with iSchool faculty members during a T3 (Teaching, Tips and Techniques) workshop.

First Generation Student Group

To gauge interest among iSchool students in creating a new student group for those who are the first in their families to earn a master’s degree, Bernier and student JonLuc Christensen hosted a discovery meeting in spring 2017, during which the following questions were examined:

  • What does it mean to be first generation?
  • How is the first generation experience unique?
  • What school resources would help?
  • What are the benefits of being first generation?
  • What are family interactions like for first generation students?

The iSchool’s First Generation Student Group describes itself as “a new and growing network of graduate students who are aimed at working together to navigate the world of graduate school and entrance to the professional world.” Bernier serves as faculty advisor, and Christensen is president.

The newly formed group has adopted bylaws, created a website, and began establishing a presence among other iSchool student leadership groups.  All iSchool students who identify as first generation master’s degree program students are welcome to join. There are no membership fees. For more information, visit the First Generation Student Group’s website.