Role of Coaching



What is Coaching?


ADVANCE Academic and Success Coaches support students who enrolled through the ADVANCE Program, a NOVA/Mason Partnership. Coaching is different from academic advising as it provides multiple layers of holistic support for students pursuing higher education. ADVANCE Academic and Success Coaches guide and encourage the growth and development of each student’s knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs about their ability succeed in higher education as well as within their chosen field. ADVANCE Academic and Success Coaches will discuss all aspects of a student’s life that impact their academic performance, including but not limited to the following nine focus areas:


  1. School Community 

  2. Effectiveness 

  3. Commitment to graduation 

  4. Career 

  5. Managing commitments 

  6. Finances 

  7. Health & support  

  8. Academics

  9. Civic Engagement


The highly trained ADVANCE Academic and Success Coaches will meet with students to discuss, in depth, these nine focus areas and how they are influencing their student experience at Mason. Academic and Success Coaches will work closely with campus resources, Academic Advisors, and the student directly to develop  plans to enhance and improve a student’s performance and confidence in each of these nine focus areas.


What we do:


Our professional Academic and Success Coaches are here to provide one-on-one support and guidance to ADVANCE students in a variety of focus areas. Improving a student’s experience in school can have lifelong impacts on the student, their family, their community, and society at large.


Academic and Success Coaches provide resources, support, guidance, and critical problem-solving discussions to provide a seamless transition from NOVA to Mason encouraging students to achieve their academic and professional goals. With the support and guidance of their assigned Coach, students can define what “success” means for them.



Our Coaches

Academic Coaches

All ADVANCE Loudoun students are currently assigned by the first letter (or the first three letters) of your last name. For now, this is a temporary assignment. Your ADVANCE Academic Coach is listed below.


                               Last Name: A- Erk

                      Academic Coach: Sabrey Stewart



                             Last Name: Erl- Lee

                    Academic Coach: Destiny Spencer-Harris



                             Last Name: Lef- Rod

                    Academic Coach: Melissa Raeder



                             Last Name: Roe- Z

                    Academic Coach: Sharon Kim



Sabrey Stewart (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Academic Coach – Alexandria Campus
Assistant Director for ADVANCE Academic Coaching


Schedule an appointment with Sabrey


Sabrey Stewart is the Academic 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 Academic Coach – Annandale Campus
Last Name A-K


Schedule an appointment with Sharon


Sharon Kim is an Academic 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 an Academic 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 an Academic 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.”

Melissa Raeder (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Academic Coach – Annandale Campus
Last Name L-Z


Schedule an appointment with Melissa


Melissa Raeder is an Academic Coach for NOVA’s Annandale Campus. She is an alumna of GMU where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and went on to spend over 20 years teaching in the high school classroom. In addition, she earned two graduate degrees and spent time teaching English and Education courses at NOVA and Marymount University. She has always been passionate about motivating and supporting learners, so her position as a coach gives her the opportunity to continue that work. She is also excited to return to GMU and NOVA, both places that have helped her to succeed in her own career.


“Students are more successful when they feel comfortable reaching out for help and can get their questions answered clearly and efficiently. I want to be the one who students look to for that guidance and be able to support them during their journey to earning their diploma from GMU.” 

ADVANCE Academic Coach – Manassas Campus


We’re working hard to add another dedicated Academic Coach to the ADVANCE Team.


In the meantime, please direct any ADVANCE-specific questions to, where they will be answered by a member of our Academic Coaching Team.

Destiny Spencer's Headshot

Destiny Spencer-Harris (she/her/hers), Senior ADVANCE Academic Coach – Woodbridge Campus


Schedule an appointment with Destiny


Destiny is the Academic Coach on the NOVA Woodbridge campus. 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.”

Success Coaches

Joshua Braaten (he/him/his), ADVANCE Success Coach
Last Name G-N


Schedule an appointment with Joshua


Joshua is a native of Northern Virginia and joined the Matriculated ADVANCE team within Student Success Coaching as a Success Coach during September/2021. Prior to joining George Mason University, Joshua attended West Virginia University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management – envisioning a career in the business sector of scholastic or collegiate sport. After graduating from WVU, Joshua began a profession in academia – but as an Academic Advisor at American Public University System where he developed a great passion for student services/coaching within higher education. He has now spent a decade working in a student services role at the collegiate level.


Joshua is proud to be a member of the Student Success Coaching unit (as well as a proud Patriot!) and feels a sense of accomplishment when students achieve their ultimate goals, both academically and in general life. He is a major advocate for mental health awareness and will serve as an ally for all, giving 110% genuine effort, advocacy and dedication to his students. As a first-generation college student, Joshua understands the incredible benefit of Student Success Coaching and can relate to the competitive, diverse and buzzing nature of Northern Virginia.

Barrie Scheivert (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach
Last Name A-F


 Schedule an appointment with Barrie


Barrie joined Student Success Coaching as part of the Matriculated ADVANCE team in October of 2022. Prior to coming to Mason, Barrie was a College and Career Specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools and before that, had a career in New Student Orientation and Student Activities at The George Washington University. Barrie holds an undergraduate degree in Education from Lebanon Valley College and a Masters of Educational Administration in Higher Education from Temple University. Her passion is helping students to feel connected and to have a holistic college experience.


“The success coaching position is a great way to connect students and help them to create their college experience in a way that is meaningful to them. Everyone has different goals and varying views of success but helping students to be the best versions of themselves is something that everyone gets excited about!”

Flannery Wickham (she/her/hers), ADVANCE Success Coach
Last Name O-Z


Schedule an appointment with Flannery


Flannery joined the Matriculated ADVANCE team within Student Success Coaching as a Success Coach during July of 2022. Before joining George Mason University, Flannery worked as a College Life Coach at her alma mater, Florida State University. Flannery moved to the NOVA region to attend graduate school at Mason and is approaching the end of her Masters in Higher Education and Student Development. In her free time, Flannery enjoys live music, cheering on her Seminoles and Patriots in various sports, and hanging with her cat, Tully. Flannery is excited to support the Mason community of students!


“Life is a lot easier and a lot less intimidating if we know we have someone in our corner supporting us and cheering us on. Coaching does just that for students! I enjoy lightening the load for students and walking alongside them as they create their own idea of success.”


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


Schedule an appointment with Krystal


Krystal brings 11 years of experience in higher education to her role. She has previously served in various departments such as Admissions, 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. 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 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 confident learners, knowing there is a community committed to helping them reach their goals.