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Celebrating First-Generation Students: Robyn Johnson

As a first-generation student, Robyn Johnson’s initial experience with college was overwhelming, which left her lost and struggling. After two years of trying, Johnson decided to leave college behind.

Fast forward seventeen years, and life experience gave Johnson a reason to return to Boise State. While volunteering at her children’s school, Johnson realized that she wanted to become a teacher, with a focus on children who are learning English as a new language. After enrolling in the Elementary Education program in the College of Education in 2019, Johnson found the TRIO Teacher Prep program, and credits the program for providing the support she needed to thrive in her second attempt at college.


Meet Robyn Johnson

Robyn Johnson is a first-generation student excelling at her second chance in college. The TRIO Teacher Prep program is a crucial part of her success story as a future teacher pursuing her bachelor degree in Elementary Education.

The TRIO Teacher Prep program’s goal is to encourage and support first-generation students, limited income students, or students who have a disability to pursue and attain an undergraduate degree in education.

“Being a first-generation student means I break the cycle,” said Johnson. “I know my mother wanted to continue her education, but she had to prioritize raising me at a young age. I returned to Boise State because I regretted not finishing and I want to set an example of what I want for my own children’s future.”

When Johnson graduates with a bachelor degree in Elementary Education, she will become an elementary teacher with an endorsement in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/English as a New Language (TESOL/ENL). When she volunteered in her children’s school, she realized she had a passion for helping students who were learning a new language, who are often from low income households or have backgrounds as refugees.

“Having been raised by my stepfather who is a refugee, this fit a special place in my heart,” said Johnson. “Because of the TRIO Teacher Prep program and my advisor Josh Baros, I am on a path to be exactly where I want to be.”

November 9th – 13th is First-Generation College Celebration week. The Center for Multicultural Educational Opportunities, housed in the College of Education, includes a variety of programs that support first-generation college students.

Center for Multicultural Educational Opportunities