First Generation Scholars Program

About the Fannie & Sam Constantino First Generation Program

Constantino Family

Since its founding in 1948, St. John Fisher College has enrolled a high percentage of first generation college students.

In honor of its 50th anniversary in 1998, the College renewed its commitment to today's first generation students by creating the Fannie & Sam Constantino First Generation Scholarship Program.

Since approximately 70% of our alumni stay in the Rochester area, such a program serves to reinforce the College's commitment to the Greater Rochester Community as well.

The Fannie and Sam Constantino First Generation Scholarship Program is designed to provide financial and academic assistance to up to 24 qualified high school students who exhibit a high degree of motivation and academic potential and are the first in their immediate families to attend a post-secondary institution.

First Generation Scholars tutor, mentor, and coordinate leadership activities that impact youth. Scholars also organize group service events that benefit the Rochester community.

Program Requirements

Students interested in becoming a First Generation Scholar must complete the First Generation Scholarship Application. The student must also apply to and be accepted by St. John Fisher College, as well as meeting the following criteria:

  • The student must be the first generation in their family to attend a postsecondary institution*
  • High school seniors must be planning to enter Fisher directly after graduating
  • Able to meet the academic requirements for admission to Fisher
  • Recognized citizen-scholars in their high school community
  • Willing to mentor younger students to achieve academic excellence and to pursue a college education

*Applicant's parent(s) or guardian may not have graduated from a two-year or four-year college or university. Siblings' attendance or graduation from a college program is permitted.

Questions may be directed to Sally Vaughan, Director of Community Service at (585) 385-8196.

Vision, Mission & Goals


Higher education is attainable for everyone.


Encourage, challenge, and promote higher education in the Rochester community by being role models, mentors, educators, and striving to develop leadership in self and others.


  • Develop activities for students outside of classes
  • Reach out to students on a one-to-one basis in elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Encourage the benefits of higher education
  • Promote relationships that create a foundation for the student's future

First Generation Scholar Spotlight

Yilmaz Ates

Yilmaz Ates

Hometown: Carthage, NY

Major: Nursing

Campus Involvement: Colleges Against Cancer Treasurer, Students Who Advocate Volunteering Secretary, Fisher Cru, Student Activities Board, Student Ambassador, Campus Center Manager

Service Site: School 29 (Fall 2015 and 2016), Notre Dame Learning Center (Spring 2016)

Why do you volunteer? I volunteer because of the difference I can make in other people's lives. There is nothing better than seeing how appreciative others are when you do something to help them and make their lives a little bit easier. I have enjoyed my service site and seeing how positive I have been to the kids in the Rochester schools.

What does the scholarship mean to you? This scholarship has meant everything to me since I have set foot on the Fisher campus. Without the generous donation from the Constantino family, I probably wouldn't be able to attend St. John Fisher College like many of my fellow First Gen Scholars. So, I am forever thankful for the opportunity to attend this fine institution. I'm also thankful for the support system that is provided through this scholarship and the many wonderful friends that I have made through the program. I think people appreciate the financial help at first, but I have come to appreciate the connections, camaraderie, and support as well. 

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