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First Wave Program

Seaver class of 2018 tossing their graduation caps


First-Generation College Students

First-generation college students are identified as students whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not obtained a bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university. At Pepperdine University, first-generation students are an integral part of our student body and our community.

In an effort to better support and serve this unique population, the First Wave program offers resources and tools to help first-generation students thrive throughout their academic journey at Seaver College. Students who identify as being first-generation are invited to attend our events, utilize the resources outlined on this page, and connect with faculty, staff, and administrators to gain key insights into the tools necessary for academic success.

Quick Facts

  • 15%Of the Fall Class of 2019 are First-Gen
  • 18%Of the Seaver College Population are First-Gen
  • Same RatePepperdine's First-Gen Students Graduate at the Same Rate as Other Pepperdine Students


First Forward

First Forward logo


Seaver College has been recognized by the Center for First-Generation Student Success as a First Forward institution for its dedication and commitment to helping first-generation students succeed.



Genesis Trejo

Looking back at my undergraduate journey at Pepperdine, there is much that I have learned as a first-generation college student, both academically and personally. The road through college may not be as clear at first and there are certainly times that require self-discovery and persistence as first-generation students. With determination and guidance, I have been able to find a support system of peers and mentors at Pepperdine. The professors at Pepperdine are amazing mentors and I have had the great privilege of receiving guidance and support from my professors to get through the first-generation college experience.

I have had leadership opportunities to develop my character and build personal relationships with my peers in clubs such as Latino Student Association and Pre-Med Club. I have also had the opportunity to be a TA and work as a perinatal research student. At Pepperdine, there are many ways to get involved in groups or clubs that pique your interest and that could lead to life-long friendships. Be proud of what you have accomplished so far to be at Pepperdine and what you will accomplish in the future. We are pioneers in each of our stories. Go First Waves!"



Additional Resources

  Scholarship Resources
  Research Opportunities

All Divisions


Faculty-student research collaboration is supported each year with AYURI and SURP funding. Contact a faculty member in your department for additional information. 

Communication Division

Pepperdine Journal of Communication Research is a peer-reviewed journal published online and hard copy; students can submit papers, can serve as editors, and as editor-in-chief.

International Studies and Languages Division

Global Tides is an online academic journal publishing Pepperdine undergraduate student papers relating to important international issues. The publication is open to students from all disciplines while especially targeting majors in International Studies & Languages, Political Science, History, Communication, Humanities, Religion, Art History, and Languages.

Natural Science Division

Honors Research Programs are aimed at providing students with insight into how scientists design experiments, collect and analyze data, and communicate their results to the scientific community. Programs available in Biology, Chemistry, and Sports Medicine.

Seaver College Summer Honors Research in Biology (SURB) was developed specifically for students who are interested in pursuing a career in biological research, science education, environmental science, or biotechnology.

Social Science Division

Faith & Life Purpose
Contact: Dr. Cindy Miller Perrin

Social Disadvantage and Cardiovascular Health
Contact: Dr. Nataria Joseph

Body Image
Contact: Dr. Jennifer Harriger

Honors Research Program in Political Science is aimed at providing students with insight into how professional political scientists design research projects, collect and analyze data or interpret philosophical texts, and communicate their results to the academic community.

Honors Research Program in Psychology is two-semester research program, aimed at providing students with insight into how psychological scientists design research projects, collect and analyze data, and communicate their results to the scientific community.

  Paid Internships

All Divisions


Business Division

Internships (Various)

Communications Division

NewsWaves 32: TV News

Student Productions: TV / Film / Web

The Waves Effect: Student PR Agency

Waves Debate: Domestic and international competitions, elementary school outreach, and on-campus debates

Fine Arts Division

Internships (Various)

Theater Productions (four annually)

Humanities and Teach Education Division

Expressionists: Student-run literary magazine

Payson Library Internships: Research and document development

Writing/Editorial Internships: The Graphic, Currents Magazine, Christianity & Literature

Social Science Division

Psychology Internships

Sociology Internships

Political Science: Washington, DC Program Students in the Washington, DC, program reside at the heart of the nation's capital—only three blocks from the White House—and gain highly personalized access to prominent public officials, scholars, activists, journalists, and diplomats. The various exposures in this program are viewed as wonderful for academic, personal, and professional development as well as serves as a bridge from the university environment to the working world.

College to Congress a nonprofit aimed at creating a pipeline for service-minded college students who are interested in working in Congress, by covering all of their costs, providing leadership training, and helping them get hired on Capitol Hill after graduation.

  Career Exploration
  Social Networking
  Parent / Family Resources

First-Semester Experiences

(Used with permission from Amy Baldwin, University of Central Arkansas)