Whether you're a first-generation student, faculty member or alumn, we welcome you to become a part of the CAHSS First-Generation College Student Program community. Learn more about our program leadership and our current first-gen mentors, sign up to be paired with a mentor and learn about opportunities to connect with fellow students, or share your experiences with DU students as a first-generation mentor.

faculty member and student talking

CAHSS First-Gen Program Staff

Carol Helstosky, PhD, Program Supervisor

Associate Professor Helstosky was a first-generation college student. As a result, she understands the rigor and versatility it takes for first-gen students to navigate the college experience. Helstosky studied literary studies for her undergraduate degree at Trinity College in Connecticut and earned a PhD in modern European history from Rutgers University. Helstosky specializes in modern Italian history, especially the histories of food consumption and consumerism, and she has published multiple books in the field of modern food history. She teaches courses in modern European history, food history and historical methods. Helstosky is a champion of working with students on projects like the Veterans Legacy Program, a research-based curriculum commemorating the lives of veterans buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery. She is also an avid fan of classical music and the Great British Bake Off.

Renissa Gannie, Program Coordinator

Renissa Gannie is a first-generation student who achieved her bachelor of arts in history and literary studies and currently getting her master's degree in literary studies. She is the CAHSS First-Gen Program's Program Coordinator and works as a writing consultant at the Writing Center. Renissa is passionate about the CAHSS First-Gen Program because she understands the struggles of being a first-generation student and wants to help provide all the resources to make the college experience smoother.

Join the CAHSS First-Gen Program

Connect With A Mentor

Are you a first-year, first-generation student at DU, and are you seeking support and mentorship from faculty, student and alumni mentors? We encourage you to complete an application and share what you're looking for in our program and in a faculty mentor.

Apply to the Program

Become A CAHSS First-Gen Program Mentor

Are you a current first-gen student or faculty member at the University of Denver, or are you a first-gen DU alumn? Consider becoming a mentor to help first-gen arts, humanities and social sciences students succeed.

Volunteer as a Mentor