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 a focus on professional and career development to prepare them before they graduate.

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 application for the 2020 -2021 academic year is live! You can access the registration questions applications through the First-Generation Website. 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 2020-2021 deadline will be August 14.

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:

 “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 (SeptemberApril). As a mentor, you have an important role 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.

Mandatory workshops will take place on pre-determined dates during the months of September to April. Workshops for the 2020-2021 First-Generation Mentor Program will be virtually accessible. 

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.