Student Affairs

Welcome to the 1st Generation Mentorship Program

As a first generation student, it is difficult to navigate higher education. I wanted to have a mentor that was first generation or was interested in helping first generation students like myself navigate the system.

The 1st Generation Mentorship Program is a community of Stanford Medicine students, faculty, alumni, staff, who are either the first in their family to attend college/graduate/professional school and/or are the first in their families born in the United States. Our goal is to provide first-generation students with broadened academic and professional networking opportunities and advocacy through continued mentorship.

Meet a few of our Mentors

Dr. Ángel Islas

Interested in mentoring a PhD student.

Ángel Islas is associate professor and chair of the biology department at Santa Clara University. He was born and raised in San José California, received his B.S. in biochemistry from U.C. Davis and his Ph.D. in biology from Stanford. He went on to postdoc in Michael Lieber's lab in the department of pathology at the Stanford School of Medicine before joining Bill Morgan's lab as an assistant research scientist at U.C. San Francisco and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. (Read more....)

Dr. Judy Kalinyak

Interested in mentoring an MD student.

I obtained my MD and PhD at Hershey Med Center (Pennsylvania State University). I completed internship at UC Davis medicine, medicine and Nuclear Medicine residency and Endocrinology fellowship at Stanford, was on faculty at USCF (Endocrine) and Stanford (Nuc Med) for combined 22 years. (Read more....)

Dr. Susan Ziolkowski

Interested in mentoring an MD or PhD student.

Susan Ziolkowski completed medical school at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and Internal Medicine training at University of Rochester before coming to Stanford University in July 2015 as a nephrology fellow. Susan is supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Parent F32) and is working towards a Master's Degree in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. (Read more....)

Many successful professionals have had, early on, one or more mentors who made a big difference in helping them achieve early success. Our graduate students, and especially those who are first generation, will benefit greatly from expert guidance throughout their academic journey.

Being a mentor has its benefits. First, sharing your passions, you can help to set the tone for students entering their professional careers. Mentors learn things about themselves as well; their career benefits, and, when thinking about the impact on someone else’s life, mentors feel like they are doing something that matters deeply and personally.

Pay it forward. Bridge the generation gap. Become a mentor.

(Please note that, while we greatly value our mentor community, not all mentors will be matched directly with a student. We need a diverse pool of mentors so that they best suit the needs of our mentees.)

In the News:  

Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, PhD, the first in his family to attend college, spoke at event honoring first-generation medical and graduate students and their mentors. Read about our 2016-17 closing event: First-generation students and their mentors honored.