Role of a Success Coach


  • Serves as your primary point of contact in ADVANCE, providing continued guidance and support from enrollment into ADVANCE at NOVA until your graduation from Mason, and effectively makes referrals to NOVA and/or Mason resources based on your needs
  • Success coaching is about you as a whole person: your academic and professional goals, values, fulfillment, and well-being. Together, you and your Success Coach will design a success plan that is specific to your needs and aspirations
Infographic of primary point of contact


Expectations for Success Coach and Students


Expectations for Success Coach:


  • Provides academic advising in relation to your
    ADVANCE curricular pathway to ensure the courses you take count towards NOVA and Mason degree requirements
  • Monitors your progress towards meeting ADVANCE milestones to remain eligible for the program
  • Conducts coaching sessions over the phone or video call, at respective NOVA campus, or at Mason in Fairfax by appointment only
  • Helps you set and clarify your academic goals
  • Assists with co-enrollment course registration if part of your curricular pathway
  • Facilitates your connections with resources, including NOVA and Mason academic advisors, Financial Aid and other special population services (ex. International Student Services, Military/Veteran Affairs) as well as Career Counseling and Disability Services
  • Maintains your confidentiality
  • Identifies and offers support and resources for personal and/or academic factors that may impact your ability to be successful

Expectations for Students:


  • Be open to exploring opportunities that will help clarify your interests, strengths and abilities
  • Establish a mutual accountability system between you and your coach in order to monitor progress towards your personal and/or professional goals
  • Schedule appointments to meet with your Success Coach at least once a semester and come prepared with questions
  • Prepare for advising appointments by reviewing your milestones and pathway requirements
  • Adhere to ADVANCE milestones as outlined on your curricular pathway
  • Check your NOVA and Mason e-mail accounts regularly and respond in a timely manner
  • Adhere to both NOVA and Mason’s policies and procedures
  • Develop short and long-term educational and career goals
  • Familiarize yourself with NOVA and Mason resources and services
  • Inform your Success Coach of any academic difficulties or program/career changes
  • Be aware of all important dates and deadlines each semester
  • Assume responsibility for all decisions and actions that may impact your academic and career options
  • Reach out with any questions


Our Success Coaches



Amira Aly (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach – Annandale campus (Last names L-Z) and Medical Education Campus

Schedule an appointment with Amira

Amira has 10+ years’ experience working in higher education both internationally and in the US. Amira worked with diverse student populations particularly international students and non-native English speakers. Before joining ADVANCE, Amira worked at NOVA’s Annandale campus as an Academic Advisor. Amira is originally from Cairo, Egypt and her native language is Arabic.  Amira holds a BA in Psychology from The American University in Cairo and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Higher Education and Student Development at George Mason University.


“NOVA students have always inspired me. They are a very diverse student population, hardworking, goal oriented and resilient individuals. Every student has a different story, comes from a different place, has unique challenges and aspires to different dreams.” 

Bradley Brooks, ADVANCE Success Coach, University Life. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

Bradley Brooks (he/him/his), ADVANCE Success Coach – Loudoun Campus

Schedule an appointment with Bradley

Bradley Brooks (He/Him/His) is the Success Coach for NOVA’s Loudoun campus and is a true advocate of the student experience. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Bradley was first in his family to graduate from high school and go to college where he received his bachelor’s degree in Human Relations at the University of Oklahoma. Bradley felt largely underserved as a low-income first-generation student in higher education. This experience sparked his passion to pursue education as a career to create transformative environments for all students to achieve their wildest dreams and aspirations. As a McNair Scholar, Bradley received his master’s degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from University of Southern California. Bradley has a varied background in higher education working in and outside of the classroom and previously worked at NOVA Alexandria in the Office of Student Life prior to this role.

“I love working with ADVANCE students because each student has a unique story and life experiences full of courage, creativity, and resilience. I enjoy helping our Nighthawk Patriots connect to their passions and personal well-being, develop a strong sense of self, and how to make the world a better place.”

Sabrey Garling, Success Coach, ADVANCE, University Life. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

Sabrey Garling (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach – Alexandria Campus

Schedule an appointment with Sabrey

Sabrey Garling is the Success
 Coach for NOVA’s Alexandria and Medical Education campuses. After graduating 
from NOVA Loudoun in 2013, Sabrey transferred to the University of Virginia and 
earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English. Afterwards, Sabrey served as a 
College Adviser with the Virginia College Advising Corps, helping
 underrepresented, first-generation, and low-income high school students achieve 
their post-secondary aspirations. Sabrey earned her Master of Education in 
College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University in 2019.


“As a former NOVA student, I personally understand the trials that may
 arise when attempting to transfer to a four-year institution. I did not have a 
lot of guidance during my transfer process and, as a result, I wanted to ensure
 that other students would have a mentor to help them through such trials in the 
future. It’s exciting to be able to use a holistic perspective in order to gain
 a comprehensive look into a student’s goals and experiences. From there, I can 
help address their academic, professional, and personal needs in an effort to 
foster their growth and success.”

Sharon Kim headshot

Sharon Kim (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach – Annandale Campus

Schedule an appointment with Sharon

Sharon Kim is the Success Coach
 for NOVA’s Annandale Campus. After graduating from NOVA, Sharon transferred to
 George Mason University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  She earned her Master of Education in Educational
 Psychology from George Mason University and completed additional graduate work 
in Community Agency Counseling at George Mason University as well.  Prior to working as a Success Coach, Sharon
 worked as a Lead Advisor at George Mason University Korea.  Also, Sharon worked as an advisor at Northern
Virginia Community College.  Sharon also
taught student development courses and ESL courses at Northern Virginia
 Community College.


“As a former NOVA student and a 
transfer student at GMU, I realized how important it is to make positive connections
 with someone who can guide you through this process.  Additionally, I am excited about my role as a
 Success Coach in a way that I can build long-term relationships with students,
 have a part in affecting the life of students by providing holistic support,
and help them build resilience throughout their academic journey.”

Ashley Marshall-Lanier (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach – Manassas Campus

Schedule an appointment with Ashley

Ashley Marshall-Lanier brings over fifteen years of experience in higher education to her new role as ADVANCE Success Coach.  She has previously served in athletics administration for student-athletes, transfer admissions, and most recently as a transfer specialist for the College Records Office of Northern Virginia Community College.  Her responsibilities included evaluation of domestic and international credit, credit for prior learning,  and assistance with course substitutions and degree auditing.  She is an advocate for student success and firmly believes in the integral part that community college education plays in successfully matriculating students to four year institutions, and eventually graduating from those institutions with Bachelor’s degrees.

Destiny Spencer's Headshot

Destiny Spencer (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach – Woodbridge Campus

Schedule an appointment with Destiny

Destiny is the Success Coach on the NOVA Manassas and Woodbridge campuses. She is an alumna of George Mason University who has received a B.A. in Communication and M.A. in Higher Education. Previously she has worked with Mason’s co-curricular program the Patriot Experience as a graduate assistant. She also has worked in Mason’s Alumni Relations Office as the Young Alumni and Student Programs Assistant. Destiny has a passion for helping students reach their highest potential and succeed in and out of the classroom.

“When I graduated from high school in 2012 and started my career at Mason my mind was working a thousand miles per hour with questions. Through my experience at Mason, I was able to get a lot of those questions answered with the help of my advisors and mentors. I am excited to be able to be a support system for ADVANCE students on their journey and be a person that they can depend on.”

Krystal Wiley (she/her/hers), Assistant Director for ADVANCE

Schedule an appointment with Krystal

Krystal brings 11 years of experience in higher education to her new role. She has previously served in various departments such as Admission, Financial Aid and Academic Advising. She has worked for a few intuitions such as The Art Institute, North Carolina A&T State University and East Carolina University, all located in North Carolina. She has 5 years’ experience in advising and coaching students in various majors and different programs of study. A few of her responsibilities included working with transfer students from the community colleges, reviewing transcript evaluations and heading summer orientations for all incoming students. She has a passion for student success and believes this can be achieved by providing students with the tools to be a confident learner, knowing there is a community who is committed to help them reach their goals.
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