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First-Generation Student Encourages, ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Take the Next Step’
Kyle Longo ’21 says the passion of one of his economics professors has inspired him to pursue a doctorate in the field so he can have the same impact on future generations of students.
February 5, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Kyle Longo ’21 was growing up, he was inspired by how hard his parents worked to ensure that he and his siblings had opportunities that they never had. They did not have the opportunity to go to college, but Longo’s parents instilled in him that education was a path to success.
Now an economics major at the University of New Haven, Longo is only a few months from becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree. He is grateful to his parents for working hard to give him and his siblings the life they have, and he hopes to pay it forward by focusing on his education.
“Being a first-generation student, to me, is something extremely special and unique,” he said. “It’s a way to create new opportunities for my family and for me, while building a strong foundation for future generations. I believe that every generation needs to try their best to provide a better life for their future kids, and this is my opportunity.”
‘I enjoy economics because it is a versatile degree’
After attending a small high school, Longo was drawn to the small class sizes at the University. He has been an active member of the University community, participating in organizations such as the International Fraternity of Sigma Chi, Interfraternal Council, and the men’s lacrosse club and gymnastics club teams. He says these opportunities have enabled him to grow professionally while making lifelong friends.
Initially a criminal justice major, he took an “Introduction to Macroeconomics” course as an elective during his sophomore year, and he was hooked. He liked it so much he changed his major, and he now serves as vice president of the University’s economics club.
“My interest in economics was motivated by the passion I could see when Professor Kamal Upadhyaya taught the introduction class,” he said. “I enjoy economics because it is a versatile degree, and it includes many other disciplines such as math, history, psychology, and even environmental science and sustainability.”
‘Don’t be afraid to take the next step’
Over the past year and a half, Longo has participated in the Liberty Initiative, which has enabled him to make meaningful connections in the business world and develop as a professional. He is grateful for the many networking and mentorship opportunities he has had at the University, including recently co-authoring an article with his professor, John Rosen, MBA, which was published in the New Haven Register.
Over the summer, he interned at MCAworks, a marketing and strategy company focused on accelerating business growth, which he did remotely amid the coronavirus global pandemic. He hopes to continue his education and eventually pursue his doctorate in economics. He aspires to become a professor and a researcher, and he encourages his classmates – especially other first-generation students – to get involved.
“If there is something you think you will even remotely enjoy, don’t be afraid to take the next step,” he said. “You never know where that step will lead. For me, it introduced me to amazing friends, fraternity brothers, and a fulfilling major.”
As part of its commemoration of First-Generation Celebration Day, a national initiative created by the Council for Opportunity in Education on Nov. 8, the University of New Haven launched an ongoing campaign that will regularly highlight the success of first-generation students in its community and alumni of the University who are the first in their families to earn a college degree. Read earlier features about Sofia Martinez ’22 and Ariana Eastwood ’23.