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First-Generation Students Realizing Their Dreams at Rose-Hulman

Monday, January 12, 2015
Clark Harris in his residence hall.

First-Generation Student: Clark Harris, a sophomore mechanical engineering student, was recognized in Independent Colleges of Indiana's 2014 Realizing the Dream program as an outstanding first-generation college student from Indiana. (Photo by Chris Minnick)

Clark Harris has taken his love of problem-solving to become the first member of his family to attend college, as a sophomore mechanical engineering student at Rose-Hulman.

He's not alone.

Nearly one out of every four students at Rose-Hulman is a first-generation college student (see statistics below) striving toward worthwhile careers in science, engineering, and mathematics-thanks to generous financial resources provided by donors, combined with state and federal grants.

"Attending college was never a question, but having the finances to attend a private institution like Rose-Hulman was," says Harris, who was among 31 first-generation students recognized in the Independent Colleges of Indiana's 2014 Realizing the Dream program. He received $2,500 from Lilly Endowment, Inc. to help with college costs.

"I had always been good in math and science, and thought that engineering would be an excellent career choice. That put Rose-Hulman at the top of my list," Harris says.

Now two years into that journey, Harris compliments his academic courses with spending time as a math and science tutor for middle and high school students through Rose-Hulman's Homework Hotline, being a volunteer for the institute's Habitat for Humanity student chapter, and playing trombone in the jazz band.

"Rose-Hulman's close educational environment just fits my needs," states Harris. "You get help whenever needed, the professors are readily available, and there's a lot to do on campus to relieve the stress throughout each academic quarter."

Later, the Indianapolis native and Lawrence Central High School graduate adds, "I like solving problems…At Rose-Hulman, you're learning at such a fast pace and much more in depth. However, I feel it's not worth studying if it's not fun. And, I'm having lots of fun."

Rose-Hulman has a proud legacy of providing educational opportunities for first-generation students, helping them and their families realize their dreams of making a difference in society.

First-Generation Student Statistics

Year First-Generation
RHIT Applications
No. of Students
in Freshman Class
First-Generation Freshmen
2014 1,074 582 121
2013 1,321 559 125
2012 1,168 621 137
2011 1,221 506 135
2010 1,150 552 118
2009 905 465 118
Source: Office of Enrollment Management