First-Generation Mentor Program
Location: United States Experience Type: Mentor Programs
Finding a Mentor
The First-Generation Mentor Program focuses on your professional and career development by pairing you with USC alumni who were also first-generation college students.
The 2022-2023 Application period will open on August 22, 2022. You can access the registration questions and application through the First-Generation Mentor Program Page on the Trojan Network. The mentee application deadline is September 9, 2022. Be sure to complete the application questions in detail since we use some of the responses to facilitate mentorship pairing with our alumni mentors.
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. Be sure to log into the platform with your USC ID. In the meantime, students can still connect year-round with Trojans through the the Trojan Network. The Trojan Network is USC’s online professional networking and mentor platform where students can connect with alumni and current students. You can gain valuable advice from fellow Trojans during brief chat sessions, informational interviews, mentorships, and real-world projects.
The 2021-2022 program will be conducted in a hybrid model, with both online and in-person activities at the University Park Campus. We will continue to provide updates to event structure to abide by California laws surrounding social distancing and events.
What You Will Gain
You will gain professional development and career direction while fostering a relationship with a person who can be a mentor and role model. You can discuss any concerns or challenges you face as a first-generation college student at USC while gaining support, direction, and connectivity from your mentor. It is especially important during these uncertain times to build community and learn from others to prepare you for your future.
“I did not expect to have so many wonderful events. I loved hearing from mentors about their careers and what they did as students at USC.” – Junior, Environmental Studies
“My mentor and I talked about everything. Not only career planning tips but also daily life. I really appreciate that we are able to connect and chat, especially under the pandemic where everything shifted online.” – Junior, Human Biology
“Overall, the program provides the resource for students to connect with mentors for advice in academics and careers.” – Junior, Accounting
“This program was extremely supportive and allowed me to connect with individuals who were so helpful and willing to help me with future goals. This experience has been amazing, and I have seen myself grow with the help of the mentors.” – Sophomore, Pharmacology and Drug Development
After their academic year of mentorship, mentees have continued to keep in touch with mentors (their own and others in the program). They have all secured internships in different industries, gone on Maymesters, became Gateway Scholars, and conducted research. The possibilities are endless!
Objectives for Mentees:
- Proactively connect at least once a month with your mentor and commit to expectations set by the program
- Participate in all monthly group and individual student-alumni activities
- Utilize campus tools/resources presented at workshops and through the USC Career Center website
- Gain insight into the USC first-generation experience, while expanding their social capital to learn about scholarships, internships, jobs and/or career paths
The program requires a commitment of one school year (September – April). Throughout each semester, we will hold once-a-month workshops that all mentees and mentors are required to participate in. These events will focus on career exploration and development and allow an opportunity for all program participants to network and interact as a group.
Outside of our monthly mandatory events, mentors and mentees are expected to connect 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 the company site. We have also developed Mentorship Principles that help set the foundation for a successful mentorship. Connecting virtually and communicating with your mentor is important – and it is a two-way street. Please do not expect alumni to only reach out to you to set up meetings! Be proactive, take initiative, and send the first email or make the first phone call.
As a reminder, use your best judgment when engaging with alumni. Review our Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Guidelines for policies on how to interact with alumni while developing a mentoring relationship. If an interaction is inappropriate or unprofessional, please notify us. We expect appropriate and professional engagement at all times.
- Maintain good academic standing.
- Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at USC.
- Have completed one full semester of classes at USC, with the exception of first-semester transfer students.
- Enrolled in undergraduate classes for both fall and spring semesters (December graduates are ineligible).
Students are selected through an application process. Selected mentees will be notified via email in early to late September. Spots are limited and if not matched, you are encouraged to utilize the Trojan Network to build connections and network with fellow Trojans! There is no minimum GPA requirement.
Students are expected to remain accountable in addition to demonstrating strong written and verbal communication skills. Students must be able to commit to the program for the full academic year. Commitment to the program is demonstrated by responding to communication from the First-Generation Mentor Program (FGMP) coordinator and your mentor in a timely manner and being mindful of mandatory monthly events when registration for Spring classes occurs. This also includes notifying the FGMP coordinator and your mentor in the event of emergencies at least two days (48 hours) in advance.
If you were a first-generation college student and would like to become a mentor to one of our undergraduate students, see below on Becoming a First-Generation Mentor
If you have any questions, contact Mallika Samtani.
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?
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 5, 2022. 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.
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 (September– April). 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.
|Apply By:||Sep 8, 2021|