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First Year Learning Communities (FYLC) at City Tech is structured to provide first-year students in linked courses an interdisciplinary learning experience. This approach creates opportunities for students to form bonds within the college community. A shared belief among faculty leaders in the potential for writing to transform the student experience led to the development of the “Our Stories” digital writing project. “Our Stories” offers FYLC students the opportunity to express their experiences in classes, seminars, lectures, study groups, and labs on the OpenLab, a digital platform for teaching, learning, and sharing. Through this project, students shared their stories and revealed an institution with a large immigrant population, evoking questions of vulnerability, cultural adjustment, and unspoken uncertainties about college life.

During a two-part interactive workshop, we will utilize reflective writing to engage the audience, and participants will review “Our Stories” narratives to inform the conversation around the challenges in the transition to college. We seek to amplify the diverse voices of our first-year students into participants’ conversations and thought processes with emphasis on first generation and diverse populations. Through this process we intend to develop a sense of how we as educators and administrators can support the student transition to college and reveal the need for continued advocacy and funding to develop innovative programs to support diverse students emotionally, economically, socially, and academically.


Presented at the 2019 CUNY Coordinated Undergraduate Education Conference, "Transforming Teaching into Learning," held at New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, New York, May 10, 2019.