"The Investors" | A CGS peer mentor program

Welcome to the College of General Studies Peer Mentoring Program.  This program has been developed to assist nontraditional first-year and transfer students with their college transition by pairing them with a peer mentor who provides guidance and support throughout the mentees’ first year in the College of General Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.


Our mission is to support the academic, personal and social experience of nontraditional first-year and transfer students by providing opportunities for new students to engage in conversations about the many issues they face as new students and the impact this has on their individual educational experiences.           


Our vision is to match incoming students with peer mentors who will give them a reference point and opportunity to address the range of diverse perspectives and experiences that will impact and enhance their learning at the University. 


  • To assist new students in making social contact
  • To empower new students to feel part of the University community
  • To help new students find their way around the University campus
  • To aid new students is accessing University services
  • To be of assistance to new students in understanding and dealing with administrative requirements
  • To support new students in adjust to the University culture

Who are the Peer Mentors?

Peer mentors are continuing College of General Studies Students who have applied to be mentors and completed a peer mentoring training program offered by the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success.  These mentors are all committed to providing students with an engaging environment as they start their first semester at the University of Pittsburgh.  Let’s meet them:

Janet Asbury

Janet has been attending college part time off and on since 1982, when she first
enrolled as a film studies major in CGS. After 3 semesters at Pitt, she attended
some CCAC classes to save money and changed majors to Business
Management/Accounting. Almost 20 years later, after raising twins, she finally
returned to CGS to pursue a degree in Humanities. Janet still remains uncertain
about a major; however, she is currently working towards a Writing for
Professions certificate. Janet has been working full time in Pitt’s Office of
Admissions and Financial Aid for eleven years where she currently provides
administrative support for several senior staff members. She got involved in the
peer mentoring program because she likes helping people. "I get a really good
feeling when I am able to make a difference in someone's day, and it's usually
by doing some small thing like smiling or being polite."

Pam Bruchwalski

Pam attended Duquesne University for Journalism for a year right out of high
school in 1980 and briefly attended Youngstown State University as a Vocal
Performance major in the mid-1990's before beginning transferring to Pitt as a
sophomore year in 2011. Pam, a mother and a full-time student, is currently a
senior majoring in Humanities with concentrations in Writing, Literature, and
Religious Studies. Pam has managed to remain on the Dean’s List and pour her
heart into writing. Pam has spent an extensive amount of time participating in
and running volunteer organizations such as PTOs and PTAs, Band Boosters,
and Softball Boosters. She is very excited to serve as a peer mentor this year.
According to Pam, the adjustment to college again after so many years is a
difficult one, but she is thrilled to have the opportunity to help others make that
transition as a peer mentor.

Karen Copeland

Karen earned her Associates Degree in Computer Forensics from the
Community College of Allegheny County. Looking for a more fulfilling
college experience and more preparation for the workforce, Kim transferred to
CGS in the fall of 2012. Kim is currently a senior majoring in Administration
of Justice, with a concentration in cybercrime. She lives with her boyfriend and
their two weenie dogs, and she works for the Gateway Clipper Fleet as a
photographer. At Pitt she is an active member of Lambda Alpha Epsilon and
has served as a mentor in the JumpStart program. Karen knows that being a
non-traditional student can be a bit of a struggle at times, but she accredits her
success to the many resources available at Pitt for all students. As a Peer
Mentor, she is looking forward to helping CGS students find their place on
campus. Whether it be giving insight on a good place to study, inviting them to
a Pitt Program Council event, or just offering advice in general, she is excited to
share her knowledge and help others succeed! 

Pearl Eni

Pearl transferred from Pitt's Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences after her
sophomore year. She is now pursuing a B.S. degree in Natural Sciences. Pearl
plans to go to medical school after she graduates in the spring. She is currently
president of Alpha Sigma Lambda, a teaching assistant for the Mastering the
University course, and participant in the UPMC Preceptorship program. She is
also an active member of the University Honors College, Pitt Program Council,
Pre-Medical Organization for Minority Students, RISE Mentoring Program,
Partners in Progress, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Pearl is a
proud Pitt Panther, and she loves to engage with her fellow students. She is
greatly looking forward to being a CGS peer mentor this year!

Christina Jutzi

Christina Jutzi is a junior Biology and Administration of Justice major from
Phoenix, Arizona. When she first arrived at Pitt, she was undecided on her
future path and happened to pick a criminal justice course as part of her first
semester. She was a little skeptical, but she ended up loving the class and made
the decision to become a part of the College of General Studies. Since then,
Christina has enjoyed her CGS courses, received immense help from her
professors and advisors, and has become more confident in her future. Christina
currently serves as a Council Member for CGS Student Government, and she
cannot wait to serve as a peer mentor in the same program that has benefited

Paul Kantner

Paul is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and was selected for
an enlisted to officer commissioning program. Paul brings to Pitt credits from
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, National University, Brookdale
Community College and American University. He is working toward a degree
in Media and Professional Communications. Paul has a wide array of interests
ranging from sports to science fiction. He is looking forward to being a peer
mentor and helping students transition to the university, especially veteran
students. He welcomes all contacts and says, “No question is too small.”

Brady McCormick

Brady is majoring in Media and Professional Communications and
Administration of Justice. He serves as the president of CGS Student
Government and is also a member of several university senate committees.
Brady currently works in Pitt's Department of Statistics and has interned with
the University of Pittsburgh Police Department, Allegheny County, the
American Red Cross, and Pennsylvania's Region 13 Counter-Terrorism Task
Force. He also serves with the Mechanicsburg Police Department in central
Pennsylvania. Beyond Pitt, Brady plans to pursue a law degree and a career in
federal law enforcement.

Kim O’Connor

Kim is a junior Legal Studies major who aspires to work in the field of family
law. For the last three years, Kim has been actively involved in the CGS
Student Government, where she serves as the Judicial Affairs Divisional
Director. As a result of her involvement in student government, Kim has had
the honor of sitting on the College of General Studies Council and the
University Review Board. She also is a proud member of Lambda Alpha
Epsilon, the Administration of Justice/Legal Studies fraternity within CGS. Kim
is the recipient of the Success & Determination scholarship and the Alice
Wroblewski Scholarship. She has also remained on the Dean’s list while raising
three young boys. Kim got involved with CGS Connections because she
believes in developing the whole student, not just grades or class rank.
According to Kim, the college experience is vast and at times overwhelming. It
is a journey of self-discovery. The purpose of mentoring is to shed light on the
path. Kim hopes to be able to illuminate the path for all those new CGS by
sharing her knowledge and experiences from Pitt over the last decade.

Lynda Porter

Lynda is a senior in CGS majoring in Administration of Justice with a
concentration in Forensics and minoring in Legal Studies. As a council member
on the Student Government Board and a participant in many other organizations
on campus, she is dedicated to the success of herself as well as her peers. Lynda
is really excited to be a peer mentor this year. She wants to help her peers make
a successful transition to college by providing them with useful information that
will help with studying and time management. She also hopes to help cultivate
some stand out students by providing them with information about how to get
involved on campus.

Travis Ritter

Before coming to Pitt Travis studied Carpentry/ Construction at a vocational
tech school. He then attended Butler County Community College for four years
earning associates degrees in Criminology and Psychology with a minor in
Emergency Medical Services. At Pitt, Travis is majoring in Administration of
Justice and plans to begin working towards a dual degree with the Dietrich
School of Arts and Sciences where he will major in Psychology. Travis
currently serves as the Vice-President of the College of General Studies Student
Government. Upon graduation, Travis plans to attend law school. He enjoys
helping anyone out with anything they need and looks forward to assisting this
year’s new CGS students with their transition to CGS and Pitt.

How does this Peer Mentoring Program Work?

Incoming students who are interested in participating in the peer mentoring program can take the following steps:

  • Read through the bios of the CGS students who will be Peer Mentors. After you have read these bios, choose a mentor with whom you think you will feel comfortable, as well as two alternates.
  • Download and Print out the Mentee application below, and return a completed form to Sherry Brown in the McCarl center. See below for download link.
  • Attend the Meet Your Mentor Welcoming Reception in the McCarl Center. For more information about this program email Sherry Brown at: sbrown@pitt.edu

Once you have returned the completed Mentee Application, your form will be forwarded to your peer mentor who will be in touch with you to begin the mentoring process.

 Mentee Application

Mentee Application

** Every attempt will be made to pair you with the mentor of your choice, but CGS will equally distribute the peer mentoring load among the peer mentors and assign them on a first-come, first-served basis, so you may not get the mentor of your choice.