My dissertation, First-Generation Rhetoric and Composition PhD Student Perceptions on Navigating Graduate Study, responds to the decreasing number of first-generation doctorates in the humanities and the limited scholarship on graduate students in Rhetoric and Composition. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 21 Rhetoric and Composition PhD students and alumni, I investigate how they, the first in their families to attend college, negotiate the professional expectations of graduate study with their personal lives and many other obligations. The implications of my research relate to issues of academic enculturation; issues of access to higher education; and the programmatic, curricular, and structural designs of doctoral programs. To increase support for and growth in more diverse student populations, I argue that we must rethink how we gain, train, and mentor future teacher-scholars in Rhetoric and Composition. I expect my dissertation to be the basis of multiple articles and a book on identity construction and first-generation doctoral students; moreover, my experiences as a first-generation doctoral student in Rhetoric and Composition are described in a forthcoming invited chapter. In October 2018, I will present this research in a keynote address with Steve Parks at the 2018 Thomas R. Watson Conference.