First-Generation Mentor Program


Becoming a First-Generation Mentor

The First-Generation Mentor Program connects first-generation undergraduate students with first-generation Trojan alumni. Our goal of the First-Generation Mentor Program is to provide first-generation students the knowledge, confidence, and tools to grow their network and advance in their career endeavors through alumni mentorship.

We are seeking proactive mentors who are passionate about supporting first-generation undergraduate students as they navigate through their USC experience. You know first-hand what it is like to be a first-generation student at USC, so why not apply those experiences to become a professional role model and provide helpful career guidance?

Application Process

The 2021-2022 Application period is now open! You can access the registration questions and application through the First-Generation Mentor Program Page on the Trojan Network. The mentor application deadline is August 4, 2021. Be sure to complete the application questions in detail since we use some of the responses to facilitate mentorship pairing with our students. Registration is linked to the Trojan Network so you will also need to create a Trojan Network account in order to complete the registration for the First-Generation Mentor Program. The Trojan Network is USC’s online professional networking and mentor platform where alumni can connect with other alumni and current students.

If you have any questions, contact Mallika Samtani.

Student Impact

The mentor-mentee relationship that is fostered throughout the First-Generation Mentor Program gives students the opportunity to learn from someone with whom they can connect with and provides mentors the opportunity to share their insight and advice to ensure student success. Building a meaningful mentor-mentee relationship has proven to be greatly beneficial to our participating students and below are some of the ways our students have defined a strong mentorship:

“A relationship where we can extend beyond simply educational or professional talk and even just be a shoulder to lean on and help when the other needs it most. It is all about understanding and willingness.”

“One where the mentee is able to open up and share insecurities and honest questions with the mentor who can respond with honest responses.”

“Two-sided relationship where both mentors and mentees are learning and growing together.”

“A strong mentor-mentee relationship is one wherein both parties can be open with one another. There is of course respect between parties , but breaking past a filter and speaking in a heart-to-heart is one that I consider as a strong relationship.”

“When you can talk comfortably with each other and share experiences and ideas with each other.”


Objectives for Mentors: 

  • Proactively connect at least once a month and commit to expectations set with mentee (reach out should be initiated by the mentee however you can always encourage/remind the student)
  • Serve as coaches to current USC students about navigating their University and Career path through firsthand advice. Listen with respect and openness. 
  • Use personal and professional experiences as a first-generation college student to support and provide insight into resources, career exploration, and professional development
  • Help students develop their professional skills such as resume and cover letter writing, elevator pitch, and interview and communication etiquette 

The program requires a commitment of one school year (SeptemberApril). As a mentor, you have an important role in promoting career exploration and professional development for your mentees. One way this is accomplished is through participating in the mandatory workshops for all mentors and mentees. Before each event, you will receive notification of the month’s topic so that you can work on that specific topic with your mentee more deeply one-on-one if you so choose. These events focus on career development (i.e., elevator pitch, networking, mock interviewing, etc.) and provide an opportunity for all program participants to network and interact as a group. We have also developed Mentorship Principles that help set the foundation for a successful mentorship.

Mandatory workshops will take place on pre-determined dates during the months of September to April. The 2021-2022 program will be conducted in a hybrid model, with both online and in-person activities. We will continue to provide updates to event structure to abide by California laws surrounding social distancing and events. 

Outside of our mandatory events, mentors and mentees are expected to connect/correspond at least once per month on their own for a professional activity. Suggested professional activities include reviewing resumes, drafting cover letters, practicing interview skills, and touring your company site.

As a reminder, use your best judgment when engaging with students. Review our Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Guidelines for policies on how to interact with students while developing a mentoring relationship. If an interaction is inappropriate or unprofessional, please notify us. We expect appropriate and professional engagement at all times.