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Honors Peer Advising Center

A peer advisor sits beside an honors student

individualized education. individualized support.

Our services

Our main service is one-on-one peer advising. We will also offer small-group workshops in the future. We work with Honors students in our dedicated office on the first floor of Ambler Johnston Hall in room 1319b.


  • Course of Study Planner guidance and approval
  • Honors credit and diplomas
  • Referrals to other honors or university resources
  • Information and guidance for current Virginia Tech students considering applying to Honors
  • Your questions will teach us what else we need to offer!


  • Telling you what to do or giving absolute advice >> But we will help you identify and evaluate your options to find your own best answer.
  • Duplicate other honors or university services >> But we can refer you to the real experts.

Meet the peer advisors

Kenyon Amott

Kenyon Amott is a junior double-majoring in Human Development and Psychology.  She joined the Honors College in her sophomore year and works hard to take advantage of the many opportunities it offers.  Kenyon is very involved on campus and holds a number of leadership positions.  For instance, she is a Hokie Ambassador and the President of the Women’s Club Water Polo Team. Kenyon spent her summer working at a camp in North Carolina, and she is committed to working with children when she graduates from Virginia Tech. As an HPAC Advisor, Kenyon hopes to be a reliable resource for every student who seeks support, helping them make the most of their time in Honors and at Virginia Tech. 

Martha Drapac

Martha Drapac is a sophomore from Roanoke, VA, majoring in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise with a minor in Psychology. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy. She is the recipient of the Norrine Bailey Spencer Strong Start Award and is a member of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. This is her second year living in the Honors Residential Commons. Martha serves as a chemistry tutor in the Students Success Center and holds leadership positions in the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry and Students for Life. She is looking forward to guiding students in making plans that work for them and helping them make their transition to college life as smooth as possible.

Bianca Harleston

Bianca Harleston is a sophomore from Ashburn, Virginia, who joined the Honors College in the spring of her first year at Virginia Tech.  Bianca is studying Environmental Engineering with a focus in water resources, and she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering and eventually become a professor of practice. In addition, Bianca is minoring in Professional and Technical Writing and serves as a coach at the Virginia Tech Writing Center in Newman Library.  Bianca is excited to serve as an HPAC advisor and to help her honors peers in whatever ways she can.  Bianca says she has learned a great deal about herself here at VT and looks forward to helping others in their journeys of academic and personal discovery.

Rachel Kanefsky

Rachel Kanefsky is a senior double-majoring in Dairy Science and Animal and Poultry Sciences. She will soon be applying to veterinary medical schools and hopes to build a career providing veterinary services internationally.  Rachel serves as both a Hokie Ambassador and an Ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and she is also a sister of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority.  Rachel is engaged in significant undergraduate research on campus and is eager to help others get involved.  Moreover, Rachel is the senior 1956 Ut Prosim Odyssey Fellow in the Honors College: she did research in Senegal in Summer 2018 as part of her fellowship, and she would love to help others take advantage of experiential learning possibilities and resources.  This is Rachel’s third year as an Honors Peer Advisor, and she looks forward to another rewarding year of helping others navigate the challenges, expectations, and opportunities of being in the Honors College. 

Mindra Okonski

Mindra Okonski is an energetic and creative junior working towards a degree in Marketing Management. Last year, she taught two sections of UH 2124: Honors Reading Seminars: “An Exploration of Emotion through Modern Poetry.” As a former architecture student, Mindra maintains her interest in the design fields.  In her spare time, she enjoys making art, doing yoga, and being outdoors, and she is always happy to offer hiking suggestions for the Blacksburg area. 

Jacob Shemer

Jacob Shemer is a Sophomore -- and Eagle Scout! -- from Maryland majoring in Water: Resources, Policy, and Management.  He is interested in doing field research and influencing environmental policy. This year, Jacob plans to start a new club called Hokies with Food Restrictions that will focus on dietary restriction advice and support, advocacy, and working with VT to continue to improve dietary accommodations. He would love to help people get involved in similar extracurricular experiences at Virginia Tech. Jacob ran cross-country for three years in high school and continues to do long runs in his spare time. This is Jacob’s first year as a peer advisor, and he is eager to help his fellow honors students uphold the valuable traits that make them who they are.

Melanie Sutphin

Melanie Sutphin is a junior from Warrenton, Virginia, studying National Security and Foreign Affairs with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic. As a member of the Arabic Club council, she is passionate about helping people understand and respect Arabic culture better, as she did during her study abroad in the Middle East this past summer.  Melanie is also a member of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. As an Honors College peer advisor, she strives to help students plan for an exciting four years here at Virginia Tech by making sure they have the tools they need to learn and grow to their full potential. 

Lauren Weaver

Lauren Weaver is a senior pursuing a B.A. in Spanish, a B.S. in Biological Sciences, and a B.S. in Clinical Neuroscience.  After a gap year, she hopes to combine her passions for Spanish, healthcare, and serving others as a physician, preferably in pediatrics. Lauren is a recipient of the Calhoun Liberal Arts Scholarship and has served the Honors College as a peer mentor and Apartment Fellow in the Honors Residential Commons and as a member of the Honors College Student Council. She is also the Lead Activities Director and Lead Engagement Manager for College Mentors for Kids at Virginia Tech, a School of Neuroscience Ambassador, and a Certified Nurse Assistant for a disabled Hokie. In addition, Lauren works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Bowers Lab studying the neurobiology of language and cognition. As an HPAC advisor, Lauren hopes to guide honors students of all backgrounds through the extraordinary opportunities the Honors College offers. 


Schedule an appointment

The HPAC opens around the 5th week of each fall semester, and will hold appointments throughout the spring semester, and close for the summer after Reading Day. You get to pick your peer advisor when you make an appointment, so be sure to read about the advisors above.

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