UW-Platteville collaborates to launch women in criminal justice mentor program

Written by Alison Parkins on |
Ullsvik Hall

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville recently rolled out its first women-focused mentoring program for criminal justice majors, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the UW-Madison Center for Law, Society, and Justice. The University of Wisconsin Women in Criminal Justice Mentoring Program provides students with mentors from multiple agencies at the federal, state and local levels. 

The program kicked off with a virtual speed mentoring event that introduced students to the participating mentors, so they could get to know them before selecting the mentor-mentee pairings. 

Twenty-two UW-Platteville students are participating in the program, including Hannah Christian, a current student in UW-Platteville’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice online program.   

“I chose to become a mentee for the UW Women in CJ Mentoring program as I believe this will help me stay on track to accomplish my goals even when I feel discouraged,” said Christian. “I have always been a woman who is empowered by other women, specifically those who are in the field of criminal justice. In addition, being a mentee will allow me to expand my career network.”

Nearly 40 mentors are participating in the program, including 22 alumni and faculty from UW-Platteville. Mentors represent 26 different organizations, covering a variety of experiences in the criminal justice field.  

Lisa Pettera, a mentor in the program, is the corrections program supervisor at the Prairie du Chien Correctional Institute and a graduate of UW-Platteville’s Master of Science in Counselor Education program.

“It can be difficult for students with little life experience to know what they want to do,” said Pettera. “Having access to others who have ‘been there, done that’ can be so helpful in trying new things, discussing options and pitfalls, and recognizing and exploring strengths you didn’t know you had.”

Mentors will meet with their mentees throughout the year. 

UW-Platteville has distinguished itself as a leading criminal justice college since 1966, when it became the first institution of higher education in Wisconsin to grant a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. For more information about UW-Platteville’s criminal justice programs, visit www.uwplatt.edu/department/criminal-justice-and-social-sciences