Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Austin Gibson (2016)

My First Generation Story

I want to give back to the students who need it. The mentoring program has become a part of me. It’s become part of my identity. Despite all the challenges I’ve been through, I want to be an advocate to change things. I grew up in a single-parent home, and I saw first-hand the problems that I could face if I didn’t make the right decisions. I saw my neighborhood taken over by drug abuse and other crimes, and I knew things wouldn’t get any better unless something was done to show young people that there is a better way to earn a living. So I decided it was time to start enacting change. 

In the Student2Student program, tutors work with at-risk students. So far, the program has worked in four districts with 100 students, and is growing.

While I'm at IUP, I manage the program with the help of my fellow co-founders, checking in daily with school principals to make sure things are running smoothly, as well as with my tutors as they make progress with their students. I'm also working at IUP to set up a pilot program where students can earn college credit through dual enrollment at their high school and IUP.

I'm about halfway to a bachelor’s degree in political science, and want to turn my degree into a career in politics. I plan on returning to Philadelphia, where I aim to become a legislator for my neighborhood. I think that the biggest way to have an impact is to make the laws that influence peoples’ daily lives. I want to be the voice, the person that people can come to, to see the change.

I give IUP a lot of credit for who I am now. The faculty has helped me in my quest to give back to others. I’ve met some great professors who really care; they’ve given me the knowledge for the mission I’ve set out to do.

I know my program is just a start, but I'm hoping that it has a big result. There’s only so much you can do on your own and I don’t have a lot of money, but what I do have is a big heart. Maybe one day I can make a big enough impact that people will understand how we all can help each other.

About the Student

Austin Gibson

A native of Philadelphia, Austin Gibson is a graduate of Mastery Charter School (Shoemaker Campus). He co-founded the Our Journey to the Future mentoring program in spring 2015, and also teamed up with another mentor to form Student2Student, Inc., which helps inner-city Philadelphia youths with things such as homework, social issues, problems at home, and career counseling.

Student Stats

Name: Austin Gibson (2016)
Age: 21
Year in School: Sophomore
Major: Political Science
Favorite Course: Criminology 101
Dream Job: Legislator in my hometown, Philadelphia

About the School


IUP combines the academic opportunities of a large university with the highly personalized and intimate learning-centered environment of a small college.  

Almost 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in our accredited and nationally recognized programs, enjoying traditional and nontraditional classroom experiences, engaging in research and service activities with their faculty mentors, becoming lifelong learners, preparing for rewarding careers and productive lives, and developing leadership skills for effective citizenship.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662