The Man Up Program

The Man Up Program, part of the Achieving the Dream initiative at the Annandale Campus, fosters student success by pairing mentees with faculty, staff, and administrators as mentors. This partnership aims to support academic, personal, and professional growth, focusing on student outputs like achieving desired grades and obtaining certificates, as well as outcomes such as transferring to a four-year college, securing desired jobs, and increasing self-esteem.

Become a Man Up Mentee

To join as a Man Up mentee:

  1. Click the button above to fill out the information form.
  2. Once your form is received, you'll be contacted to discuss the next steps.

For more details, explore the content below or contact the Dean of Students office in CA 315, call 703.323.3382, or email the program administrator at

Mission Statement

With the values of determination, student success, self-actualization and prosocial behavior, the mission of Man Up at NOVA-Annandale is to promote mentor-mentee relationships that mitigate barriers in achieving academic excellence, career satisfaction and good citizenship for students from designated minority groups.

Vision Statement

To be a mentoring program that assists students in achieving their lifelong goals.

Guiding Concept

Student success.

Man Up - A term used to represent a challenge to be a responsible, successful and empowered citizen.

Mentor - A full-time employee of NOVA approved by the Provost, who accepts the responsibility of assisting students in the Man Up program to achieve their academic, career and personal goals.

Mentee - A NOVA student who agrees to abide by the tenets, principles and responsibilities of the Man Up program.


Annandale Campus, the Man Up Advisors, and I would like to introduce you to Man Up, a mentoring program at NOVA. Man Up is designed to provide guidance that leads to academic, career and personal success. Man Up provides opportunities to discuss issues relevant to you. Each student is assigned an experienced mentor who will share their knowledge and college resources that can give you an advantage toward reaching your goals. 

Man Up offers many opportunities for you to build strong relationships in an atmosphere of accountability, acceptance and empowerment. Throughout the semester, you will hear presentations on topics that will prepare you to succeed during and beyond college. You are encouraged to recommend topics so that your specific needs are met.

Topics for the upcoming academic year include:

  • Financial Aid and Scholarship Information
  • Leadership
  • Professional Interactions
  • Transfer Preparations

If you feel that Man Up is for you or you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We look forward to getting to know you!

Pam Hilbert, Ed. D.
Provost, NOVA-Annandale

Ken Darensbourg

Ken Darensbourg

Professor, Communication Studies
Doctorate, Gallaudet University
Master's Degree, California State University, Northridge
Bachelor's Degree, California State University, Northridge

Office: CM 116
Phone: 703.362.5571

Dr. Darensbourg has taught for more than 25 years in higher education. Ten of those years he spent at NOVA. He has held positions with private corporations and government agencies for more than 10 years. He was on a triathlon team in college and still trains and competes in races.

Steven Mosley headshot

Steven Mosley

Coordinator for Student Integrity and Conduct
Master's Degree, Liberty University
Bachelor's Degree, Liberty University

Office: CA 315
Phone: 703.323.3382

Mosley has worked in higher education for seven years; three of those years at NOVA. He is passionate about reconciliation and has been trained in suicide prevention. Mosley likes to spend his free time discussing faith, family and freedom.

George NFormi headshot

George Nformi

Police Officer, NVCC Police Department, Annandale Campus
Master's Degree, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
Bachelor's Degree, Yaounde University I, Cameroon
Paralegal Graduate Certificate, Georgetown University, Washington DC

Office: CA 203
Phone: 703.425.5957

Officer Nformi has worked at NOVA and the City of Alexandria Police Departments for the past five years. He also serves in leadership positions in various immigrant cultural associations and his church pastoral council here in the Northern Virginia area. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Officer Nformi taught in various High Schools in Nigeria and Cameroon for 10 years.

Cecil Jackson headshot

Cecil Jackson (CJ)

Intramural and Recreation Coordinator / Assistant Athletic Director
Master's Degree, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Bachelor's Degree, University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Office: CG 112A
Phone: 703.323.3713

Coach Jackson has worked in higher education for 6 years; 4 years here at NOVA. Outside of his campus recreation duties, he is a physical education adjunct professor, little league coach, personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach for NOVA Athletics. Coach Jackson enjoys positive vibes, impacting lives, participating in recreational activities and playing video games.

George McMillan

George McMillan

Professor of Administration of Justice
Master of Science - Education
Retired DEA Special Agent
Military Police - US Army Reserves


Image of Steve Lessner

Steve Lessner

Associate Professor of English
Masters Degree, Towson University
Bachelors Degree, Salisbury University

Office: CN 128B
Phone: 703.323.2152

Professor Lessner has taught a variety of undergraduate writing courses in higher education since 2007 and has been teaching writing and literature courses at NOVA since 2015.  In these courses, he invites students to explore how their diverse music literacies, including Hip Hop, can be used to effectively transition to writing in college.  In his free time, he loves visiting radical bookstores in Baltimore and DC, writing poetry, visiting family, and listening to lots of Hip Hop.  His favorite Hip Hop artists include Nas, Method Man, Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco. 

Man Up is a voluntary mentoring program designed to provide NOVA-Annandale students with mentors and educational experiences to assist students in overcoming the barriers to student success. Carefully read the Mentee Responsibilities below. If you believe that you can benefit from Man Up and maintain the responsibilities, fill out the application form and a Man Up representative will contact you. For questions about Man Up, visit the Dean of Students office in CA 315, call at 703.323.3382, or email the program administrator at

Mentee Responsibilities

A mentee in the Man Up program must be able to:

  • Commit to the Man Up program for one year.
  • Achieve an expected 2.85 GPA or higher at time of graduation.
  • Maintain Curricular Student Classification.
  • Attend 80% of the Man Up meetings.
  • Meet with your Mentor twice each month during the academic year.
  • Provide mentor with evidence of participation in NOVA's On-Time Registration one week prior to the start of classes.
  • Make available second-week and midterm academic progress report and discuss the report with your Mentor.
  • Demonstrate behavior indicative of a scholar, leader and good citizen.
Man Up Mentee Application

"Buy" the Numbers

Although mentoring is positively correlated with student success, less than 15% of community college students engage in mentoring experiences (Kuh, et al, 2006). The following are factors that contribute to mentees' success, hence it is recommended that mentors promote all. Use the numbers to assist mentees in mapping effective milestones and goals in creating their path to success.

  • Factor One: Credits Taken. Students who complete 31 NOVA college credits before transferring to a four-year institution have an 81% graduation rate.
  • Factor Two: Associates Degree. Of the students who graduate with an associate's degree, 48% go on to graduate with a bachelor's degree.
  • Factor Three: Full-Time Students. Students who transfer and are enrolled full-time throughout their college experience are 80% more likely to graduate from a four-year college.
  • Factor Four: Transfer Grade Point Average (GPA). George Mason University attracts the preponderance (56%) of its transfer students from NOVA. Transfer students must have either a cumulative 2.85 GPA for those students who have attained an AA/AS degree and meet the Guaranteed Admission Agreement standards, or a 3.00+ GPA for NOVA students who transfer under regular transfer admission standards.
  • Factor Five: Engagement. Students who are engaged in college programs like Man Up in their first two years have GPAs that are 0.33 higher than those who are not.

Awards and Recognition

Mentees will be formally recognized for achievements in the following areas:

Man Up Cravat

The Man Up Cravat is awarded after a mentee has satisfactorily completed two semesters in the program. The cravat is a green and gold, regimental necktie with the diagonal moving from the right to the left shoulder. A Half-Windsor Knot should be used to secure the cravat.

Man Up Graduation Stole

The Man Up Graduation Stole is awarded to all students who have participated in the Man Up program, completed 25 hours of college sanctioned service activities, and will attend the graduation ceremony. The stole is a Kente Cloth imprinted with the "Man Up" logo and the mentee's year of graduation.

Man Up Lapel Pin

The Man Up Lapel Pin is an award given to students who have participated in a minimum of 50 hours of college sanctioned service activities and achieved a 3.50 GPA or above at the time of graduation.

Dean's List

Students who in the current semester have completed six semester hours, have no grade lower than a "C," and have a current semester GPA of 3.50 or higher are awarded this distinction.

Presidential Scholars

Students who have earned at least 20 NOVA semester hours, are taking nine semester hours in the current semester, and have at least a 3.75 GPA are awarded this distinction.

Joseph Windham Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to one Annandale student who has completed 15 semester hours at NOVA in Liberal Arts or Social Studies, has a 3.00 GPA or higher, writes a 300 to 500 word essay on American social or environmental justice, takes a class in African-American studies, and participates in an African-American influenced civic activity.