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Hawa Tunkara '21 FLI Story Collection

Identifier: BC16-03

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The Hawa Tunkara ‘21 FLI Story Collection contains six summaries of interviews with Barnard alums and accompanying audio recordings, a five part mini-series in podcast format with then-current students of the Barnard class of 2021 and 2023, two creative written pieces, six video interviews formatted into a two-part mini-documentary series, and artwork devoted to telling a story (and not the story) of the first generation and/or low-income students at Columbia University.

Participants to date: Yari Gonzalez, Seyi Olojo, Alejandra Figueroa, Aharisi Bonner, Manuela Hiches, Jordan Hollis, Bilal Choudhry, Tina Gao, Zyaira Speller, Flosha Liyana, Amrita Khan, Jasmin Torres Pinon, Anna Yokote, Kay Kim, Aneeza Asif, Tamanna Hussain, and Taibat Awokoya.


  • Creation: 2020 - 2021


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has no restrictions.

Publication Rights

All rights for the collection remain with Hawa Tunkara and the interviewees. Hawa Tunkara and the interviewees grant advanced permission for the Barnard Archives to permit individuals to quote from the materials. Individuals utilizing the materials who wish to publish and/or profit monetarily from the materials must obtain permissions from Hawa Tunkara.

Historical Background

The Hawa Tunkara ‘21 FLI Story Collection was created in order to spotlight the first-generation and/or low-income student experience at Columbia University. The inspiration for the collection came from the donor’s own experience learning how to traverse and maneuver college life as the first in her family to do so. She was a part of the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP) and found that there were no real ties or connections being built with the alums who graduated from the program. As a result, a large part of the narrative for how students who were either first in their families, or came from lower socioeconomic background, went undocumented. Tunkara attended the annual FGLI Conference hosted at Cornell University early in 2020 and from this experience her want to tell this story only grew. She not only wanted to know the experience of those who had already graduated from Barnard and Columbia but also to document current FLI student’s experiences.

The audio and video interviews for the class of 2021 and 2023 students were conducted virtually between September 2020 and December 2020. The written pieces and art pieces by the class of 2021 were collected between September 2020 and June 2021. The alum blog post interviews were conducted between October 2021 until April 2021.


1 Gigabytes (56 files)




The Hawa Tunkara FLI Story Collection contains 25 oral histories from first-generation and/or low-income students and alums of Barnard College and Columbia University during the years of 2020-2021.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the same order it was received.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Archives by Hawa Tunkara, 2021.


No accruals are expected.

Related Collections

BC13.31, Academic Success and Enrichment Programs, contains records of HEOP and other programs discussed by students in their oral history interviews.

Processing History

This collection was processed and the finding aid written by Hawa Tunkara and Martha Tenney in June 2021. We gratefully acknowledge Alice Schreyer '68, whose funding supported the processing and transcription of materials in this collection.

Descriptive Rules Used: Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Finding aid written in English.

Guide to the Hawa Tunkara '21 FLI Story Collection
Hawa Tunkara, Martha Tenney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States