News Story

Hoyas Connected celebrates a successful first year

May 29, 2024 — The psychology department is celebrating the very successful completion of the first year of Hoyas Connected! Originally begun at the University of Virginia as The Connection Project, Hoyas Connected came to Georgetown this year with the mission of helping undergraduates increase their sense of belongingness at Georgetown.

Directed by Professor Andrea Bonior, the program trains a select cohort of undergraduate facilitators to co-lead small groups of first-year, second-year and new transfer students. These groups meet weekly for course credit throughout the semester and engage in discussions, games, and other activities centered around relationships, trust, identity, and well-being at Georgetown. The first cohort of ten facilitators was trained in Fall 2023 and went on to lead their first groups this past Spring. Groups filled up quickly, with nearly 70 students taking part, and many positive reviews about the way that the groups helped them learn more about themselves and their relationships, have meaningful discussions about things that matter, and feel more at home at Georgetown.

For Hoyas Connected facilitators, the program is quickly establishing itself as a coveted opportunity for hands-on training and experience in interpersonal skills, leadership, and group dynamics. New cohorts of facilitators were trained in both Fall and Spring of this past year, with an additional cohort having been selected to begin their training this coming Fall. For students with interest in the helping professions, becoming a facilitator is a particularly valuable and rare opportunity to gain experience in the realm of clinical skills while earning class credit. Potential facilitators apply for the training and are selected by Professor Bonior for their strengths in interpersonal skills, conscientiousness, motivation, and compassion. They must make a year-long commitment (one semester of training, and one semester of running their groups) and have taken at least one psychology class.

“Hoyas Connected has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people. I feel much more confident in my communication and interpersonal skills after being led by Professor Bonior in training, and I was able to apply those skills while co-facilitating. However, the biggest takeaway was the satisfaction I felt after watching so many friendships blossom between members of my groups. I wish I could go back and do it again!” said junior McHaley Ho, one of the inaugural group of facilitators.

If you are a first-year, second-year, or new transfer student, you can register to be a participant in a Hoyas Connected group by enrolling in PSYC 3750. All are welcome! If you are interested in applying to become a Hoyas Connected facilitator and have taken at least one psychology class, you can learn more and see the application here [link: ]

Application deadlines are in March for Fall-semester training and in November for Spring-semester training.  The psychology department is poised to continue to grow the program and looks forward to many years of Hoyas Connected ahead!