Will Atkins

We asked Will what he thought about first-generation students. This is what he replied, "being first-generation is being a trailblazer. You are the first person to go to college within your family and by doing so you are serving as a role model and example to the younger generations." 

As far back as Will can remember, he always wanted to go into education. He initially wanted to be a high school principal but after being at the University of Florida and having some experiences he shifted to still wanting to do education but more focused in supporting students in college. Higher education administration became the route he ended up taking.

Will's reason for wanting to go into education stems from his passion in supporting others and investing in them because someone was invested in him too. According to Will, "My aunt was very influential in my life, she taught high school English and adult education as a teacher. One time when I was at the grocery store with her, one of her students from way back approached her and asked her how she was doing. Seeing the impact my aunt had on all these students made me realize that education was the way to go about influencing others and supporting people live out their dreams."

In his first year as the assistant director of the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, Will hopes to understand the best ways to support first generation scholars, whether that be through assessing the program, assessing the experiences of the students to enhance their experiences in the future or by providing more opportunities to scholars through partnerships around campus. In addition to helping Leslie and staff one of his main goals is to make sure the experiences of the students are elevated.