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Why Should You Join AAPI Connect?

“I have some ideas about my major, but I’m really not sure. I wish I had someone who could give me direction.”

“I really struggled with ENG 111 or MTH 154, and I’m disappointed with my results.”

“I have a ton of pressure from my family to succeed and I want to know how other Asian American students have handled this.”

“I’m new to NOVA and I wish I had someone to help me figure things out!”

“I’m on academic probation and could really use some help from someone who’s passed these classes.”

“Everyone expects me to fit the stereotype of the perfect Asian student. I can’t survive under this pressure and I’m losing hope.”

AAPI Connect is a one-year mentorship program that pairs students with paid mentors and other resources to help them find success at NOVA. This program is a new initiative from the AANAPISI Grant Team at NOVA.

As an AAPI Connect mentee, you will:

  • Be paired with a Peer Mentor, who is an established NOVA student willing to help you navigate NOVA’s structure,
  • Meet monthly with other AAPI students and engage in in-depth conversations around what it means to be a college student, family expectations, identity, and so much more,
  • Receive special access to tutoring and career services, through our Intercultural Learning Center,
  • Engage in social and cultural activities designed to enrich your college experience.

The goal of this program is to welcome you into the NOVA community and provide you with resources to thrive both academically and socially. Our small size gives you the opportunity to ask personal, introspective questions, without judgment or evaluation. To fill out an application, click here.


AAPI  includes any students who self-identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander. Ethnic backgrounds under the AAPI (Asian American, Pacific Islander) umbrella may include but are not limited to: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Filipino, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, Native Hawaiian, Fijian, Micronesian, or other Pacific Islanders.

The list of possible backgrounds was not meant to be exhaustive, as the AAPI group is very diverse and can include over 50 ethnic groups and communities.

Paid Peer Mentors ($12/hr) are returning NOVA students who have successfully navigated their first year at NOVA, are open and eager to help new students, and have strong interpersonal skills. These Mentors are chosen for their ability to connect with others, their leadership skills, and their motivation to help other students. They also undergo training in interpersonal and intercultural skills and higher education topics and are expected to work on campus approximately 4-6 hours per week. Peer Mentors are appointed for each academic year, with most activities taking place between August-May. 

Peer Mentors must meet the following requirements:

  • Self-identify as an AAPI student
  • Enroll in a minimum of 6 credits each semester of work (Fall & Spring)
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA at NOVA
  • Identify as friendly, helpful, open-minded, and willing to meet new students
  • Possess strong interpersonal and presentational skills (or willing to learn) 

Please note that the application period for 2022-23 Peer Mentors has passed. The application date for 2023-24 Peer Mentors will be announced in the spring of 2023. If you’re interested in being considered for a paid Peer Mentor in 2023-24, contact Dr. Carolyn Hurley (churley@nvcc.edu).

Students are eligible to participate as a Mentee for one year. Mentees must meet the following requirements:

  • Self-identify as an AAPI student
  • Currently enrolled student at NOVA (3 or more credits)
  • Self-identify as needed additional connection and support, due to (one of the following):
    • Academic difficulty (e.g., academic warning or probation)
    • Unsuccessful completion of gateway ENG or MTH courses
    • Undeclared major, or
    • New student in need of connections

The application period to become a mentee for the 2022-2023 academic year is now open!  Please review this important timeline before applying: 

  • Complete and submit your application by August 31, 11:59 pm.
  • Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. You are notified of your program acceptance by September 9, 2022.
  • Our first cohort meeting is September 16, 2022
    • Cohort A meets Fridays, 11:10 am - 12:30 pm
    • Cohort B meets Fridays, 2 - 3:20 pm

Mentees should plan to commit 1-2 hours a week to program activities:

  • Participation in cohort meetings held on the Annandale campus, on certain Fridays from 11:10 am - 12:30 pm or 2 - 3:20 pm.
  • Twice-monthly meetings with your Mentor.
  • Active mentees are also given preference to attend program-sponsored group excursions during the 2022-23 academic year.
  • We also encourage you to spend time studying at the new AANAPISI Intercultural Learning Center at Annandale.

Yes! The AAPI community encompasses broad groups of people with ties to South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. And our goal is to build an active community that supports the diversity of these cultures and experiences.

That said, given the newness of our program, we might not have the ability to match you with a Mentor of the same ethnic background. Peer Mentors and Mentees are paired based on campus, program, and other connections, such as similar interests. We also respect requests of being paired by gender for religious and/or cultural reasons.

During our cohort meetings, you will be able to meet, network, and form friendships with other Peer Mentors and Mentees with similar backgrounds. That’s another reason why attending our monthly meetings is so valuable!

Our Peer Mentors are current NOVA students who know how to navigate the challenges of college life, whether that means choosing the right classes, working with advisors, taking career services workshops, finding the right student clubs, etc.

And these students also identify as AAPI, and can share how their background has created both challenges and opportunities for them at NOVA.

Simply put, you can’t find this type of support anywhere else.

We want this program to be as helpful as possible. If you are not comfortable with your assigned mentor, please let us know.

There’s always the potential of personal or cultural concerns that come with seeking help or community. Please feel free to reach out directly to Dr. Carolyn Hurley (churley@nvcc.edu), AANAPISI Grant Faculty Lead and AAPI Connect administrator, about any questions you may have, or guidance you need.

AAPI Connect cohort meetings and activities are for AAPI Connect program participants only. 

However, we are excited to launch the new Intercultural Learning Center in the Fall, which will be a welcoming safe space for all students. The ILC is located in Founders Hall and opens in Fall 2022, and we look forward to seeing you there!