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Honors Peer Advising Center

A peer advisor sits beside an honors student

Individualized education. Individualized support.

What does HPAC offer?

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. For Fall 2020, HPAC will continue online. 


  • Course of Study Planner guidance and Honors Laureate Diploma Plan 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 experts.)

Note: Calhoun Discovery Program (CDP) students will contact Michelle Kovac ( instead of using the HPAC.

Meet the peer advisors

Niki Armstrong 

Niki Armstrong is a senior from Ellicott City, Maryland, majoring in Biology and minoring in Business Leadership. After graduation, Niki plans to attend Dental School. Throughout her three years at Virginia Tech, Niki has been an active member of the Gamma Beta Phi Honors Society, an undergraduate Teaching Assistant in Biology, and an active member of the VT Women’s Club Tennis Team, where she will serve as President for the 2020-2021 year. As an HPAC advisor, Niki hopes to assist students plan for a successful and exciting four years here at Virginia Tech by offering advice, guidance, and support for students pursuing an Honors diploma and more broadly, a Virginia Tech degree.

Martha Drapac

Martha Drapac is a junior from Roanoke, VA, majoring in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. 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. She lived in the Honors Residential Commons for 2 years. Martha now 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.

Talley Johnston 

Talley Johnston is a junior from Charlottesville, Virginia majoring in Human Development and minoring in psychology. She is very involved on campus and loves to give back to the community.  She volunteers in College Mentors for Kids, is a Hokie Ambassador, and holds a position in her sorority. Talley loves working with children and hopes to be an elementary school teacher when she graduates.  Talley is excited to help other students in the Honors College as a reliable resource and to help them make the most of their honors experience. 

Erin Kaplan 

Erin Kaplan is a sophomore from Waterford, Virginia, studying International Relations with minors in Spanish and International Business. She joined the Honors College in the spring of her first year at Virginia Tech and has been enjoying many of the opportunities it offers, and hopes to study abroad with the Honors College. Erin is also a part of the Outdoors Club and Alpha Chi Omega. She is passionate about helping others grow and is excited to be a resource for students who seek support. As an honors peer advisor, she hopes to help students plan for an exciting four years by making sure they are aware of the various resources and opportunities provided to them.

Ryan Shayer

Ryan Shayer is a junior Geography major from Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. Following graduation, he plans to attend graduate school for Urban and Regional Planning and eventually work in Housing and Urban Development. He is also passionate about hospitality and tourism, especially after spending part of spring 2020 working in Walt Disney World, and is happy to answer questions about internships and co-ops. This will be Ryan's third year living in the Honors Residential Commons and his second year as an Apartment Fellow, and he looks forward to building community with the HRC and all Honors students. Ryan looks forward to helping students develop plans for exciting and fulfilling careers at Virginia Tech.

Jacob Shemer 

Jacob Shemer is a Junior from Maryland majoring in Water: Resources, Policy, and Management at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources.  He is an Eagle Scout.   He is also the president of the Students With Food Restrictions Club at VT and would love to help people get involved in similar extracurricular experiences.  Jacob ran cross-country for three years in high school and continues to do long runs in his spare time.  This is Jacob’s second year as an academic peer advisor and he is eager to support the many incredible students here at Virginia Tech. 

Melanie Sutphin

Melanie Sutphin is a senior from Warrenton, Virginia, studying National Security and Foreign Affairs with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic. As Vice President of the Arabic Language Club, she is passionate about helping people understand and respect Arabic culture, as she did during her study abroad in the Middle East during Summer 2019.  Melanie is also a member of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and their chapter here at Tech. 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. 

Kenyon Amott   


Schedule an appointment

The HPAC opens for the academic year in the fifth week of each fall semester. The HPAC is closed for winter break and during the summer, closing after Reading Day each fall and spring semester.  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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