This First Generation Digital Storytelling project explores the use of storytelling and digital social media to give voice to the rarely heard narratives of First Generation college students and graduates. In three day digital storytelling workshops, current and former first gen students craft first person stories and then weave images, video, sound, and silence to craft elegant multimedia pieces about pride, growth, resilience, anger, tenacity, doubt, shame, and discovery as they navigate the invisible cultural and social norms of higher education.


Jane Presenting 2 (1)

This project is a partnership between Jane Van Galen at the University of Washington Bothell and Class Action.

Jane (herself a First Generation student) has been doing digital storytelling work in her classes and in workshops since 2007.  Many First Generation students have created digital stories in her classes and she facilitated a Digital Storytelling workshop for UWB faculty, staff, and grad students who were First in their Families in the summer of 2013.   Some of these stories can be viewed here.

She has trained as a digital storytelling facilitator with the Center for Digital Storytelling



Class Action is  a national nonprofit that inspires to end classism. Class Action provides a dynamic framework and analysis, as well as a safe space, for people of all backgrounds to identify and address issues of class and classism through powerful interactive trainings, workshops, presentations, organizational consulting, and public education.


Our support:

Funding for the Mobile Storytelling Lab that we use for this project came from the generous donations of 192 contributors to a University of Washington USeed crowd funding campaign in Autumn, 2014.

If you would like to join the community of donors to the First in Our Families project, please click here.        Donations will subsidize the costs of workshops, enable us to maintain our equipment, and support scholarly research on this project.


Scheduling a Workshop on your campus or community:

If you would like to talk with us about coming to your campus to facilitate a digital storytelling workshop, contact us via this form or email Jane Van Galen at vangalen @ uw.edu

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