Spearheaded by Dr. Tia Andersen, the department facilitates an adolescent mentoring
program where students can be involved in an intensive helping relationship with youth
at risk for school failure and involvement in the justice system. Students participate
in the mentoring program by enrolling in CRJU591: Adolescent Mentoring.
Adolescent Mentoring Program
The course is facilitated by Dr. Tia Andersen. Her research interests are in girls' delinquency and programming and the intersections of race, class, and gender.
USC students who enroll in the Adolescent Mentoring service learning course (CRJU 591/WGST 598) are matched with a youth attending Lexington Two School District's disciplinary alternative school, New Bridge Academy (NBA). Most commonly, students who attend NBA have been expelled from their base school and are at a significant risk for school failure and justice system involvement.
Students are trained during the first five weeks of the semester in effective methods of intervention with at-risk adolescents. Once training is complete, the class focuses solely on mentoring and case responsibilities, and students begin visiting NBA once per week to work with their mentees. The time at NBA is spent helping assigned mentees identify development goals and build competence and character to reach those goals. All mentoring occurs at NBA and is monitored by Professor Andersen.
This is a writing intensive course and counts toward major and minor requirements in criminology and criminal justice.
Devin Lemon is a Criminology and Criminal Justice major that transferred to UofSC in 2019. A highlight of his time at the university was the Adolescent Mentoring program. He recognizes Dr. Andersen as one of his most influential professors. Read more about his experience.
Amber Infante is also a Criminology and Criminal Justice major. Amber feels it was "meant to be" that she ended up in Dr. Andersen's Adolescent Mentoring course. It inspired her interest in working with youth in the criminal justice system. She says, "I want to have a positive impact not only on their lives in the system, but also on the system itself." Read more about her experience.