I do not know any specific research that links strengths with first generation student .We have been using strengths for about three years and have found the tool to be powerful with this population. I did complete my dissertation on first generation students. Don't know if this will be helpful, but I have attached my lit review. Might be some helpful information. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!
Thanks for the info on Starfish and Spiders. I understand the concept and I like the idea of a panel discussion or a round table group. I don't think that has been done yet at the conference. It could provide a different dialogue and different types of learning.
I'm attaching the document we are currently using when we try to get others jazzed about strengths. It includes some background on employee engagement, since most of our work is done with business/industry, and a description of the course work we have designed. I hope this helps you!!!