How Does the Hidden Curriculum Impact First Generation Student Success at Mason?

  • Tiara Smith George Mason University
  • Malerie Gamblin George Mason University
  • Khaseem Davis George Mason University
  • Vanessa Correa George Mason University


Cultural capital and academic integration play a significant role in the conversation around the hidden curriculum. This poster will provide definitions of both, providing a framework for understanding the impact that assuming students have this “common knowledge” has on both the student and the faculty/instructor. In addition, we will provide anecdotal evidence from Mason first-generation students and highlight key data points about first-generation students at Mason and across the country.

Author Biographies

Tiara Smith, George Mason University

Academic Advisor, School of Business

Malerie Gamblin, George Mason University

Academic Advisor, School of Business

Malerie Gamblin is an academic advisor with the Office of Student Success and Academic Services in the School of Business. She works with Under 2.0 Student Programming, Return to Success (RTS), First Generation Student Initiatives, and School of Business Mason Online Students. Before starting with the School of Business, she served as a Program Coordinator with Mason’s Early Identification Program. Before coming to George Mason University, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The College of William and Mary and a Master of Higher Education from The University of Virginia.

Khaseem Davis, George Mason University

Early Identification Program Director

Vanessa Correa, George Mason University

Associate Director for Advising, Honors College at George Mason University 

Vanessa Correa has dedicated her higher education career to ensuring that all college students have access to and are successful in college. Born and raised in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, the importance and power of a college education (and beyond) was instilled in her at an early age. She currently serves as Associate Director for Advising in the Honors College at George Mason University. Within this capacity, she oversees advising for the college, provides guidance on policy, and collaborates with advisors and colleagues across the University. She previously worked at Mason overseeing programming and support for first generation students. She worked in similar roles at Georgetown University, Cornell University, as well as Northern Virginia Community College. Ms. Correa spent several years working within the criminology/criminal justice field. Her projects included working with community members and local law enforcement on improving their relationships, analyzing the impact of college courses on inmate recidivism rates, as well as evaluating a drug treatment program. While loving her research and experience in this field, she was equally passionate about working with college students. Ms. Correa holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Cornell University and a Master’s Degree in Justice, Law, and Society from American University.

4:15pm-5:30pm POSTER SESSION (Group A- 4:15-4:45pm)