Washington State University’s chapter of the Tri-Alpha Honor Society will formally induct its first 180 members on April 8 during a virtual ceremony.

The Office of Access and Opportunity and the First-gen Forward Working Group established Tri-Alpha at WSU in 2020. Students, faculty, and staff across the WSU system were invited to join the organization which recognizes academic achievements in first-generation students, creates enthusiasm for scholarship, promotes leadership, and provides support networks across the nation.

WSU’s first group of inductees consists of 74 undergraduate students, 28 graduate and professional students, and 78 faculty and staff members.

Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, and Sandra Haynes, chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities, will emcee the invitation-only event.

Angie Klimko, director of First at WSU, said each inductee will hear their name called during the ceremony and receive a pin and a certificate in the mail.

“These are our shining stars,” Klimko said. “They are high-achieving scholars who are leaders in our community and display the many accomplishments of first-generation students at WSU.”

Jennifer Espin, a first-generation student majoring in civil engineering, helped to establish the honor society at WSU. She was elected as Tri-Alpha’s first president and, along with five other student officers, is working to set the tone and direction for the new organization.

“We are really excited to start connecting with our fellow students and provide resources, workshops, and support to all the first-generation students system wide,” Espin said.

Klimko is equally excited about the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by the Tri-Alpha officers.

WSU Tri-Alpha 2021-2022 officers.

“What better way for them to give back or pay it forward than by sharing their lived experiences as first-gen students and helping to elevate their success, whether it’s with their career, socially, or academics,” she said.

More information about Tri-Alpha’s membership criteria and benefits can be found on the First at WSU website.

There are 55 Tri-Alpha chapters nationally with WSU and Seattle University being the only two in Washington. Tri-Alpha was founded in 2018 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Penn.