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 is to provide these students with exposure to the working world and focus on professional and career development to prepare them before they graduate.

We are seeking 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?

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 relate to 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:

 “I believe that a strong mentor-mentee relationship includes open communication, trust, and acceptance. With my mentor, I feel like there was no question I could not ask. She actually invited so many more questions, and then went beyond that with extra advice as someone who has more experience.” – International Relations, third-year student; Mentor (Leventhal, ’00) works at a real estate investing firm.

“I went into this program not really knowing what to expect other than a lot of professional career guidance/help, but I think I bonded well with my mentor and really consider her more like a great friend than mentor. I really am grateful for our relationship and her friendship this semester.” – Business Administration, fourth-year student; Mentor (Marshall ’15) works in corporate social responsibility.

“My mentor reached out to various colleagues so that I could hold informational interviews with them. She provided me with resources in order to facilitate the conversation. She gave it her all and helped me in any way she could.” – Human Biology, second-year student; Mentor (Annenberg ’07) works in higher education.

“To be honest, at first, I was nervous to talk to him and didn’t share a lot about myself. But once I went with him to his office for an office visit at AT&T, I felt like we really connected. I think meeting outside of campus really made me get to know him a lot better.” – Computer Science, second-year student; Mentor (Dornsife/Viterbi ’89) works in big data and business intelligence.


The program requires a commitment of one school year (October April). Throughout the year, we hold once-a-month workshops that all mentees and mentors are required to attend. These events focus on career development (i.e., networking, mock interviewing, etc.) and provide an opportunity for all program participants to network and interact as a group.

As a mentor, you have an important role promoting 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.

Mandatory workshops will take place at USC on the following evenings:

  • Wednesday, October 30, 2019
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019 (this event is optional with no programming attached, as finals are the following week!)
  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020
  • Wednesday, February 26, 2020
  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020
  • Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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

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.

Application Process

The application deadline was Sunday, August 4, 2019. Please check back in June 2020 for the 2020-2021 application.

If you have any questions, contact Gina Ibrahim at (213) 740-9654 or