Empower Me First Academy

Photo of students and families on campus empower me first ambassadors

Empower Me First Academy is a cohort-based program intended for first-generation students in their first year at the University of Miami and fosters personal development, career preparedness, better understanding of holistic wellness, and a sense of community at the University of Miami. Participants will grow both personally and professionally and become more confident navigating the institution. The Empower Me First Academy is a new initiative that the Office of Academic Enhancement is excited to offer with the goal of equipping first-generation students at The U with tools and network to successfully navigate college and maximize resources.  

The EMF Academy will serve as a transitional program for incoming first-generation first-year students.  EMF academy is designed to ease the transition challenges many incoming college students may experience. We are committed to helping students build confidence and become equipped with the necessary resources to matriculate through their entire collegiate experience to commencement. 

Participants will also be assigned a first-gen peer mentor to help with building connections.

The application deadline approaches quickly. If you are interested, please apply by Wednesday, August 23rd. Participants will be notified by the end of the day on Thursday, August 24th.

Program Details


Students who participate in the Empower Me First Academy, and successfully complete the semester-long program will build wellness and resiliency skills to maxmize their undergraduate experience, navigate this transition to college successfully, attend a closing celebration, get priority access to a faculty or staff mentor in their sophomore year, and be eligible to receive an Empower Me First stole when they graduate.

Required Components

The Empower Me First Academy incorporates selected required workshops and activities, peer to peer mentorship, as well as access to optional workshops and bucket list suggestions to help students make the most of their undergraduate experience at the University of Miami.

In addition to the events and workshops listed below, students participating will also meet with a first-gen peer mentor at least twice throughout the semester.




Saturday, Aug. 26th

9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Empower Me First Academy Orientation 

Wednesday, Sep. 13th

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Workshop 1: Financial Literacy

Wednesday, Sep. 27th

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Workshop 2: Major and Career Exploration

Wednesday, Oct. 11th

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Workshop 3: Mental Health & Wellness

Saturday, Nov. 4th

8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Participate in Miami Day of Service hosted by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership

Wednesday, Nov. 8th

7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

National First-Generation Student Celebration Day

Wednesday, Nov. 15th

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Empower Me First Academy Closing Ceremony

How to participate 

The Empower Me First Academy is geared toward first-year (including transfer students), first-generation college students who are looking for in-depth support systems as they transition to college.  We encourage students interested and willing to commit to the required aspects of the EMF Academy to apply to participate!  We'll help you transition to becoming a trailblazer at The U!

Application deadline is Wednesday, August 23rd at 11:59 PM

Click here to apply!

Flexible components

Access to Optional Workshops

Students who participate in the Empower Me First Academy will also have access to additional optional workshops that will be offered at three different times each in the first few weeks of the semester.  We recognize, some students may need additional support in these areas and provide flexibility for students to choose which ones they wish to attend.  The location and times of these workshops will be provided to the students participating in the EMF Academy.

  • Time management:  Week of August 28th
  • Getting involved: Week of September 4th
  • Stress management: Week of September 11th

Bucket List Suggestions

These are a few examples of recommended ways for students to get connected and engage with resources on campus. Every student is unique, so what they choose to engage with is up to the individual student. However, these are strongly encouraged activities or resources that support student success overall.

Examples may include:

  • Attending an event hosted by a Residential Faculty member or First Year Fellow
  • Using the meditation room in Richter Library
  • Attend a cooking class in the Wellness Center
  • Meet with a peer career coach at the Toppel Career Center