Founding Scholars

Founding Scholars welcomes new, incoming first-generation college students to life at GW. Students will build community with other first-gen students, connect with faculty and staff, and learn about valuable academic and campus resources. This program is specifically designed for first-generation students and we welcome you to register if you identify as a first-gen student.

Register for Founding Scholars

Due to the recent changes in the fall semester schedule, Founding Scholars will no longer occur before New Student Orientation. This program has been reconfigured as a virtual co-curricular program for incoming first-year students that will primarily take place on August 27th and 29th.

Three students highlighted walking through Kogan Plaza.


Founding Scholar students eating dinner at a restaurant.

Alejandra Varela

Class of 2023

"The Founding Scholars program helped immensely in my first year of college at a PWI, I was nervous and scared that I would be isolated from spaces because of my background. This program welcomed me with a community that taught me that I was not alone and that I belonged here. I found a family that equipped me with the resources and confidence necessary to be successful as a first-gen, second-generation immigrant, person of color.”


Program Overview & Changes

This year, the Founding Scholars program has been modified to accommodate changes in university operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All  workshops, panels, and discussions will take place virtually. 

Students that sign up to participate in Founding Scholars are expected to be available to engage during all program dates and times. 

Small groups and peer guides are a signature part of our co-curricular programs and will continue. Incoming students will be placed in a small group led by two peer guides who act as mentors and are responsible for leading small group discussions and activities.

Program Benefits

By addressing the unique characteristics of this population, the goal of Founding Scholars is to reduce barriers between first-gen students and continuing generation peers thereby catapulting students to a successful start to their college experience.

Founding Scholars participants will:

  • Explore what it means to be first-gen at GW;
  • Build community with their first-gen peers;
  • Connect with faculty/staff; and
  • Learn about valuable academic and campus resources to set them up for success while at GW.



of students agreed that they can apply their strengths as a first-generation student after Founding Scholars


incoming students participated in 2019, the first year of Founding Scholars


There is no program fee for Fall 2020. 


Registration will open on Thursday, July 30th at 12PM Eastern and remain open through Thursday, August 13th at 12:00 PM EST, or when spots are filled. Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. A wait list will be made available should the program fill before the registration deadline. The registration link will be posted here when available.

Register for Founding Scholars

Program Dates

Thursday, August 27 | 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM EST

Saturday, August 29  | 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM EST

The times are tentative and subject to change; however, participants should plan to spend the majority of the day in Founding Scholars activities. Breaks will be built in for meals and any required orientation activities. We ask that participants attend all activities and discussions. Some additional activities and discussions may take place throughout the fall semester; however, attendance at those additional events will be optional.  

Sample Schedule

We are working diligently to craft the final schedule for this year’s Founding Scholar program in light of the recent change to a fully virtual experience. The sample schedule outline will help you envision this year’s program. Times and session formats are subject to change, and all times are Eastern. More information will be provided as details are available. 

August 17 - August 26 

Flipgrid video introductions (on-going)

Thursday, August 27

12:00 PM  |  Welcome and Introductions
1:00 PM    |  Faculty Panel
2:00 PM    |  Small Group Discussion + Break
3:30 PM    |  Workshop
4:30 PM    |  Break + Dinner on Own
5:30 PM    |  Small Group Discussion + Activities 

Saturday, August 29

12:00 PM  |  Welcome and First-Gen Reflection
1:00 PM    |  Workshop 1 (guide-led)
2:00 PM    |  Workshop 2 (guide-led)
3:30 PM    |  Workshop + Activity
5:15 PM    |  BYO Dinner + Small Group Discussion


"I really enjoyed being able to hear my small group’s really helped me to feel reassured as to why I am here and why we are here as first-generation students."

2019 Participant

Class of 2023

Additional Information  

If you have any additional questions, please contact Denise Remedios, Program Coordinator for Leadership.