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Incline Education Fund partnered with the Nevada First-Gen Network (NFGN), an off-shoot of the UNR Dean’s Future Scholars outreach college-readiness program to pilot a mentoring program for Incline Middle School (IMS) students in the summer of 2022. The program pairs first generation University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) students who are the first in their families to attend college (first-gen) with Incline students from 6th -12th grade to provide mentorship, academic and social support.
The initial Incline summer camp ran 4 days/week for 3 weeks and gave the IMS students an opportunity to gain college exposure through UNR college visits, tours and programming. IMS students were bussed to Reno twice/week to take part in activities on the UNR campus and were in Incline Village the other two days/week.
Students spent mornings participating in STEM projects and learning about the many colleges at UNR and the other half of the day learning about leadership, team-building and just having fun. While in Incline, IEF coordinated the STEM programming for students with the University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) program. We partnered with IVGID, Pet Network and High Altitude Fitness for their outdoor activities.
The program expanded in 2023 to include weekly classes with their mentors during the school year and a month-long, 5 day/week camp in the summer.
NFGN mentors are graduates of the program themselves. They understand the importance of mentorship and work hard to develop relationships with the students. Regular check-in opportunities throughout the school year are designed to deepen those relationships and help keep students engaged in school and on a path toward college or a vocation.
Nevada State Senator Heidi Seevers Gansert sponsored a bill in 2021 that led to the creation of the Nevada First-Gen Network (NFGN). This was a statewide initiative to help students across Nevada graduate from high school and achieve higher education. Seevers Gansert was familiar with the 20+ year success of UNR’s Dean’s Future Scholars (DFS) mentoring program and wanted to find a way to expand that model throughout the state.
DFS Director, Dr. Mariluz Garcia agreed to pilot a program to find a way to do just that. She reached out to the Incline Education Fund to see if they would be interested in collaborating on a summer camp for students in Incline Village. The NFGN is an extension of that program.