The Office of Undergraduate Education has announced that Cecili Poole, a Georgia Tech alumna and first-generation student, has made a $75,000 commitment to support first-generation students at the Institute.

headshot of Cecili Poole

The Poole First-Generation Student Initiatives Endowment Fund was established in acknowledgment of Poole's commitment of $25,000, payable over five years, as well as $50,000 in employer matching funds, totaling $75,000, to the Georgia Tech Foundation. The endowment fund will be split between First-Generation Student Initiatives and the First-Gen Student Organization, created by Poole during her undergraduate career at Georgia Tech.

Poole, now a software engineer at Netflix, graduated in 2014 with a degree in computer science. "First-generation students are important to me because I was once in their shoes and understand how difficult it can be to get to, and get through, college," said Poole. "College continues to be a valuable experience and can build a person's wealth, which is critical for many families with first-generation students."

Poole is pleased to see the progress that Georgia Tech has made in supporting first-generation students. "When I applied to and started at Georgia Tech, there was no mention of first-generation on the demographics question for an application," she said. "A decade later, there is a question on the application and an office of First-Generation Student Initiatives on campus as well." Poole is currently pursuing a master's in machine learning through Georgia Tech's OMSCS program and is excited to these changes firsthand. "All of these things were what I wanted to see on campus when I graduated, and it is great to see them come to fruition." 

The endowment will be used to fund a variety of initiatives designed to support first-generation students, including emergency grants, funding for panels and speakers, assistance for textbooks and other materials, and funding for other initiatives deemed critical to the first-generation student population at Georgia Tech.

The Office of Undergraduate Education is deeply grateful for Poole's generosity and commitment to supporting first-generation students. This donation will make a significant impact on the lives of these students and help them on their way to achieving their full potential.