The Trailblazers Program assists first generation college students majoring in Criminal Justice as they learn to navigate college life successfully. The focus is on providing peer mentorship, career guidance and internship placement, and access to academic tools and resources to first generation students. We connect students with representatives from a wide range of criminal justice agencies and with successful alumni who work in fields of interest to students.

First generation students mentees are partnered with first generation mentors based on background characteristics in an effort to help them navigate the college environment and to ease the transition into higher education. First generation mentors have been selected based on their successful acclimation to university life.


Students interested in gaining professional and leadership skills by participating in the Trailblazers Program should contact faculty members, Dr. Gillian Pinchevsky at or Darwin Morgan at to express interest.

Student Mentee Benefits

  • Individualized support — Mentees are partnered with upper-division Criminal Justice FGS students who will provide academic and social support throughout the semester. Mentors help provide social and cultural support for first generation college students.
  • Reduced financial pressures — Financial pressures of mentees may be reduced by having access to low or no-cost class textbooks and by helping students apply for scholarships.
  • Exposure to networking opportunities — Mentees learn about the university resources available to them. They are provided many opportunities to hear about career paths from professionals in the criminal justice field through panel discussions and career fairs.

Student Mentor Benefits

  • Elevate the learning environment — Through the mentors’ experiences, academic success, and the training they receive, mentors can help elevate the culture of learning on our campus.
  • Expand your social capital — Mentors are exposed to academic and professional personnel and resources that will make an impact in their mentees’ academic lives. Mentors will have the opportunity to interact more closely with criminal justice faculty members.
  • Build an impactful resume — Trailblazers is a unique experience, which will set mentors apart from other students. It will help mentors develop leadership and professional skills that are desired in the work place or in graduate school.