I Belong Here: Supporting First-Generation Students

Our Team

Jeroen Janssen







I work as an Associate Professor at the Department of Education of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. I decided to apply for a Comenius Senior Fellowship to fund this project. I started out as a first-generation student myself and my own experiences as well as my discussions with students led me to start this project. My aim is to make sure that all students who qualify for an university education are able to be successful in our programmes. However, some students struggle with the transition to university and this is even more so for first-generation students. I think the university has an obligation to support these students. I am also an educational scientist, and I am also interested in the question how we can design university programmes in such a way that they are support the development of all students. You can contact me at j.j.h.m.janssen@uu.nl. Also, I tweet about education (and other stuff), although mostly in Dutch. You can follow me at: https://twitter.com/j3ro3nj

Charlotte Wang







My name is (Rui Yi) Charlotte Wang and I work as an Educational Sciences teacher at Utrecht University. I was a first-generation student, so I find the subject very interesting and relatable. This project offers me a unique and valuable way of interacting with students. I wish to help future students to feel ‘more welcome’ at our university. I help with conducting research and developing interventions.

Aitana Bilinski 







I am an education and research officer at the Department of Education of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and at the Freudenthal Institute. I am involved in multiple projects related to inclusion, diversity and equality and help to teach the course Educational Psychology. My role within this project is to conduct research related to the effectiveness of interventions geared towards supporting students and to help in project management tasks. You can contact me at a.l.bilinskitorres@uu.nl if you have any thoughts you would like to share or questions.

Meryem Zbair







My name is Meryem Zbair. I have been involved in the project ‘Here I belong’ as a student assistant since last year. I received my bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science from Utrecht University last year. Personally, I come from a family in which I was the first one to study at the university. I have also been involved in the Opmaat program which focuses on first generation students. The approach of the project ‘This is where I belong’ is very much in line with my own experience and interest, namely inclusiveness and diversity! I think it is important that everyone feels at home at the university. My role in this project is to think about how we can best reach and support first generation students. You can always contact me at m.zbair@uu.nl to share your experience or if you have a fun idea that connects to our project!