HU Connect supports first-generation college students, low/limited-income (FLI) students, and those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) to succeed at Hollins University and beyond. We are committed to the academic pursuits, sense of belonging, and empowerment of all HU Connect participants. Through our pre-orientation programs, mentorship opportunities, academic support, and campus/community partnerships, HU Connect strives to cultivate confident leaders of tomorrow.
Meet some of our current HU Connect mentors.
Hi! My name is Elizabeth, I’m a second-year student and I use she/her pronouns. I plan on majoring in English and minoring in gender and women’s studies. I am involved in several clubs at Hollins, such as The Young Writers Initiative, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, mock trial, and the student chaplains. Outside of school, I enjoy music and reading, and having movie nights.
Hollins University, Class of 2026
Hellooo! My name is Kya Folkes (she/her), and I am a sophomore pursuing a biology major and gender and women’s studies minor. I will be the treasure for the BSU council for the 2023-24 academic year. I’m a house member of Mae Jemison: Specialty Housing and a member of the Pre-Med Club. I enjoy painting, listening to music, cooking, spending time with my mom and little brother, and of course relaxing.
Hey! I am Pulari Gilbert, a sophomore here at Hollins (the r in my name is pronounced as a t, btw), and I am thinking about majoring in film and minoring in creative writing. I live in Sandusky (the service house) and I’m SAGA copresident, and Senate vice-chair.
My name is Jennifer Gomez and I’m a rising junior double majoring in psychology and Spanish while also obtaining my teaching licensure. I am the president of La Casa Hispánica for the following year. I enjoy going out with friends in my free time!
Hi everyone! My name is Kailee Hall (she/her), and I am a junior art history and international studies double major. Currently, I am the arts and media coordinator for Hollins’ Public Health Outreach Club, and this is my second year as a FLI mentor. I plan on studying in Italy during the 2024 January Term and have also been conducting provenance research (i.e., cultural repatriation and WWII artwork recovery). After I graduate, I plan on pursuing my master’s degree and learn more about museum collections through provenance. I also enjoy walking, drawing, and driving
Hi there! My name is Leia Hernandez (she/her) and I’m a senior chemistry major with a physics minor. I’m so excited to be one of the Early Transition Program peer mentors for the 2023-24 academic year! I’m also a governing member of the Chemistry Club, Hollins Repertory Dance Company senator, senior class senator, and cochair of the Level Up! Gaming Club. I enjoy dancing, reading manga, and experimenting with new bubble tea recipes!
Hi! My name is Katie McBride and I’m a psychology major and part of the class of 2026. This coming fall, alongside serving as a FLI guide, I will be serving as Roarin’ Ink Poetry’s media manager. Originally from Illinois, HU Connect has helped me create a community where I feel just at home in Roanoke as in Illinois. Being surrounded by such a supportive community has taught me so much about myself and taught me the skills to achieve more than I ever imagined. I enjoy photography, cooking, and watching movies with my roommate.
Hi I’m Dorian Meekins (she/they)! I’m a sophomore from Franklin County, VA, planning to double major in history and political science and am the proud senator for FMLA. You can also find me in the Writing Center as a tutor. I have a passion for using history to educate, inform, and empower! I adore reading, napping, and connecting with nature.
Hey y’all!! My name is Amberosia Persinger but feel super free to call me Amber. I’m a sophomore history and education double major! When I’m not busy with class, I enjoy hanging out with friends or going on long drives with the windows down and music up!
I’m Blair Turner, class of 2025, and an environmental science (B.S.) major and economics minor. They have a fascination with plant research and participated in research on the J-Term 2023 Ecuador trip. They planned on furthering their plant studies with an internship at Cornell University in the summer of 2023. Coinciding with plant research, they are an active member in the Hollins community. They participate in the clubs Black Student Union and Students for Environmental Action. In addition, they are an ETP (Early Transition Program) mentor for HU Connect which caters to mentoring first-year BIPOC and minority communities at Hollins. They plan to go to graduate school for conservation science and work for environmental conservation and justice.
My name is Ty’Aija and my pronouns are she/her(s). I’m a junior, declared biology major and chemistry minor on the pre-nursing track. I am a second year FLI guide and an outdoor program leader. In my free time I work out, play videos games, and watch TV.
Hello! I’m Vanity! I am a senior creative writing and psychology double major. I collect old clown dolls and classic novels from antique stores.
Hello, my name Kaylin Wallen and I’m from the U.S. Virgin Islands. I’m a junior double majoring in biology and public health. I spend most of my time in the biology department working as a lab technician, so if you’re ever looking for me, you’re guaranteed to find me there! I studied abroad in Tours, France, this past J-Term 2023, and I am now a global ambassador for the study abroad office. I am often seen around campus in a quiet corner reading and listening to music. HU Connect allowed me to truly find my home on campus, meet new friends, and get out of my comfort zone. I’m one of the Early Transition Program (ETP) peer mentors for the 2023-24 academic year. I’m so excited to meet you all.
- Of all active Hollins undergraduate students (including Adult Horizon), 25.9% are first-generation students.
- Approximately 38% of our degree-seeking undergraduates for 2018-19 are Pell Grant/limited-income students.
The two pre-orientation programs below are offered to students at no cost.
First generation and low/limited income (FLI) is a pre-orientation and yearlong support system for FLI students. FLI students arrive on campus early and move into their residence halls before other new students. They are teamed up with upper-class student guides who work closely with them during pre-orientation and throughout the academic year to build relationships, connect with valuable resources, and learn important tips for success. The guides answer questions and provide encouragement to help new students grow in confidence and become campus leaders.
This program is offered free of charge, is open to all incoming first-generation and low/limited-income college students, including transfers, and provides an opportunity for FLI students to build community with each other.
Early Transition Program (ETP) is a pre-orientation program designed to support incoming BIPoC students as they transition into the university, and the program extends throughout the school year. ETP participants are paired with upper-class peer mentors who are trained to ease the transition into college and provide support during the student’s educational journey.
This program is offered free of charge, is open to all incoming BIPoC students, including transfers, and provides an opportunity for self-identified BIPoC students to build community with each other.
Benefits of pre-orientation:
- Complete check-in and move into residence halls early, arriving to campus on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, between 9 am and 1 pm
- There is no cost to participate
- Meet new classmates, and returning Hollins students
- Learn about resources available to you on campus
- Get pro tips from faculty, students, and staff that will support the start of a wonderful journey at Hollins!
HU Connect FAQ
Can transfer students attend pre-orientation?
Yes, we encourage transfer students to attend!
Is pre-orientation open to only residential students?
No, commuter students can attend pre-orientation as well.
Will I still be required to attend “normal” orientation if I attend pre-orientation?
Yes, attending pre-orientation (FLI or ETP) is optional, however, New Student Orientation is mandatory.
If I am not able to attend the pre-orientation program, can I still participate in HU Connect during the academic year?
Yes! We understand not everyone is able to attend our pre-orientation program. If you are an HU Connect student (first generation, low/limited income, and/or BIPoC) you will have access to all HU Connect resources and activities during the academic year.
I am participating in the pre-orientation program, what do I need to pack?
Please review the What (and what not) to bring document provided by Housing and Residence Life at Hollins University.
Does it cost money to attend pre-orientation?
No! Both pre-orientation programs are offered free of charge.
I qualify for both FLI and ETP pre-orientation programs, which one should I choose?
You can select either program. We would rather you participate in one program than not at all. Please note, the two programs offer similar experiences.