Courtney StephensAs a first generation student, one of Courtney Stephens’ biggest stress points was figuring out the finances of education and finding the academic resources available to her.

“I didn’t really know what to do and my parents didn’t really know what to do,” she said.

Now a junior majoring in speech language and hearing sciences, she was able to find support and can now help other students connect to resources through her job as a journey leader with New Student & Family Programs. Some of the resources she shares with other students are things she wishes she knew about from the start—like the availability of tutoring.

“When I was struggling in classes, I didn’t automatically know that I could ask for a tutor through my residence hall,” she said. “It was a lot of me being super confused for a while until an advisor pointed me in the right direction.”

Stephens encourages other students to get in touch with New Student & Family Programs if they are looking for resources. Journey leaders—who are also CU Boulder students—need to stay aware of a variety of offices and programs on campus. She also regularly points other first generation students to the Cultural Unity & Engagement Center (CUE) and First Generation Scholars.

Courtney is a member of the McNeill Academic Program, which requires a volunteer requirement each year. She said this gives her an interesting opportunity to get a glimpse of the future.

“At the end of each year, I like to work with the graduation ceremony that [McNeill has before Commencement],” she said. “They’re honoring all of the graduates and it’s really nice to see what I’m aiming for.”

Stephens' current plan is to find an internship to work with people in speech pathology to see what they actually do and how the science she’s learning here figures into their jobs. She said she’s learning a lot about the ears, throat, articulation and language, and she’s interested in figuring out how it her studies can be used to help people.