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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition


The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is proud to honor undergraduate students for their work on behalf of first-year students and the impact their efforts make on the students and cultures of their institutions.

Each year with our partners at DIA Higher Education Collaborators, we recognize up to five students with the Jordan Smith Undergraduate Fellowship and celebrate them at the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience.

The recipients of the 2024 fellowship are:

Ramsey Brower headshot

Ramsey A. Brower

Ramsey Brower is junior from West Plains, Missouri currently attending Arkansas State University studying mechanical and electrical engineering.  

Bower is actively involved with the Ultimate Frisbee Club and the Society for Manufacturing Engineers. In addition to participating in undergraduate research, he is a member of the honors college, tutors through the campus Learning Support Services, and serves as a freshman community leader for the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

He is a member of a student group that was awarded the Signature Experience Red Wolf Works Award. After graduation, Brower’s goal is to work in the aerospace or power distribution industry.

Chandler Cotton headshot

Chandler Cotton

Chandler Cotton is a third-year scholar from Tulsa, Oklahoma majoring in general biology at Tennessee State University (TSU). Motivated by the legacy of Black Wall Street and the poverty in underserved communities, he aspires to become a pediatric emergency medicine physician. At TSU, Cotton is as a university ambassador, tour guide, TigerPAL mentor, and student advisor. He is currently serving as the representative-at-large for first-year students, partnering with his peers to ensure all first-year students feel welcome and at home.

In his spare time, Cotton volunteers at his former elementary school helping to mold future leaders through interactive learning.

Olivia Fields headshot

Olivia Fields

Olivia Fields is a senior at Jacksonville State University (JSU). During her first and second years, she immersed herself in campus life by joining the Freshman Forum, participated in community service, worked as a student mentor, and served as treasurer of Lambda Sigma. She also worked as a gamecock orientation (GO!) leader in which she helped welcome 1,900 incoming freshmen during new student orientation.

Fields is scheduled to graduate in May 2024 and wants to pursue a master’s in business administration at JSU and continue her work with first-year students. 

Lauren Frank headshot

Lauren Frank

Lauren Frank is a fourth-year student at Washburn University majoring in physics, computer science, and Spanish. She has been involved with peer education since 2021 and is now one of Washburn’s senior peer educators. She loves the First Year Experience program and intends to continue working with the program during her remaining semesters at Washburn. Her favorite part of being a peer educator is seeing past students taking on leadership roles on campus and finding their place within the college community. After graduation, she intends to pursue a career in software development. 

Lucia Solano headshot

Lucia Solano

Lucia Solano is a rising sophomore at Lander University and is working toward completing her degree in international studies. She currently provides student mentoring as a student coordinator for the peer leader team within the First-Year Experience program and serves as a presidential ambassador. As a first-generation Costa Rican American college student, Solan is passionate about helping students navigate their transition to college through social modeling for underrepresented student populations.

She recently participated as a student representative during the Higher Education Day initiative organized by the State of South Carolina and the Student Speakership for the Lander Launch event that welcomes new students to campus.

See previous recipients of the Jordan Smith Undergraduate Student Fellowship

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