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Maria Erb portrait
Maria Dykema Erb

Maria Dykema Erb, co-director of The Graduate School’s Diversity and Student Success program, has been appointed to a national advocacy group for first-generation students.

Erb is one of 19 members, selected from colleges and universities across the nation, of the Advocacy Group for the Center for First-generation Student Success. The center is an initiative of The Suder Foundation and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.

In its recent announcement about the Center Advocacy Group membership, the organization said the scholars and practitioners appointed to the group are “deeply knowledgeable about and committed to the success of first-generation college students.”

In 2019, the center had recognized UNC-Chapel Hill as a First Forward Advisory Institution for its commitment to supporting first-generation student success.

Erb directs Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS, a Diversity and Student Success initiative offering resources, activities and networking opportunities for UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students whose parents or guardians have not earned master’s or doctoral degrees. She said the Center Advocacy Group would be a very effective platform for sharing best practices for supporting first-generation graduate and professional students, as modeled through Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS.

“As a proud, first-generation college graduate, I am excited to engage further with the work of the Center for First-generation Student Success to pave the way for more students like me to become the first in their family to pursue a higher education,” she added.

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