Quinnipiac University
Students study together outside on the Rocky Top Student Center patio

Bobcat Academy

Designed to help students navigate their first year of study, Bobcat Academy focuses on three key transition areas: succeeding in academics, adjusting to life away from home and building a trustworthy social network of friends, classmates and faculty advisers. 

Apply to Join Bobcat Academy

A foundation for, academic, social and personal success

Why Join Bobcat Academy?

Bobcat Academy students participate in a wellness exercise.

Students who participate in Bobcat Academy are better positioned to succeed in all aspects of the college experience here at Quinnipiac University. Designed for students pursuing any major area of study, this program is especially beneficial for underrepresented students and first-generation students. 

Upon joining Bobcat Academy, students will be assigned a dedicated faculty adviser within their school or college. This faculty adviser will provide one-on-one academic coaching and mentorship throughout the academic year, offering guidance for building successful study habits, selecting courses and adjusting to the expectations of college-level academics. 

In addition to academic mentorship from faculty, Bobcat Academy connects students with current students to serve as peer mentors here at Quinnipiac. These peer mentors help students form strong and reliable social connections with students who share similar interests and values, even if they are pursuing a different major, live in a different residence hall or come from a different part of the country. 

Photo: Bobcat Academy students focus on mindfulness and self-care during a session with Tami Reilly, director of fitness and well-being at Quinnipiac University

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I join Bobcat Academy?

The transition to college can be challenging because of increased academic demands, a new environment and being away from your support system of family and friends. Research has shown that structured academic enrichment, social connections and learning success strategies from your peers provide the tools to enhance academic and campus life experiences and lead to better outcomes.

How will Bobcat Academy impact my schedule?

To ease into college and have a reduced — but still full-time — course load, Bobcat Academy students will take one less course in the Fall semester. The course that gets removed is different depending on the student's major. The Bobcat Academy adviser will work with the student to modify their schedule and make sure they do not fall behind. Students take an online summer course, free of charge, to make up for the reduced load in the Fall semester.

Is there flexibility to choose which class would be switched?

Bobcat Academy advisers will recommend the specific course that is removed from the Fall schedule, depending on the student's major. There may be some flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

Does the Learning Strategies Seminar mentioned in the invitation email replace the First Year Seminar?

No, the 1-credit Learning Strategies Seminar does not replace the 3-credit First-Year Seminar focused on critical thinking. This Learning Strategies Seminar teaches students to develop strong college-level academic habits.

Will there be any pre-determined structured meetings?

Yes. Bobcat Academy students will meet each week in one space to study a topic of their choice. Known as "study tables", this successful model has been in place for student-athletes for many years. The study table will have peer mentors present to help facilitate questions and reinforce strong academic habits.

How often do extracurricular activities take place?

Bobcat Academy hosts a variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities throughout the academic year. Part of the college experience is creating a community to strengthen the students' sense of belonging. These activities will be used to foster and develop the Bobcat Academy community.

Will I keep the same academic adviser?

Bobcat Academy will not interfere with academic advising across our Schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. There will be a faculty/academic staff member who will serve as Bobcat Academy adviser specific to your major. The advisers interact with each student and frequently check in with them. In some cases, the student’s academic adviser and Bobcat Academy adviser may be the same person.

Does enrolling in this program restrict me from any activities, like Greek life, student organizations or Living-Learning Communities?

Not at all! Students who are more involved generally perform better in the classroom. The Bobcat Academy advisers are here to make sure students do not spread themselves too thin. This guidance will come in the form of a suggestion, not a mandate.

In Their Own Words

Headshot of Madison Suk

Madison Suk ’26

“Bobcat Academy is a great opportunity to adjust to college and learn important life skills such as time management and creating a resume. My most prominent memory was when we participated in a meditation class. I learned more about myself and how to be engaged in the Quinnipiac community.”

Headshot of Lindsey Dilapi

Lindsey Dilapi ’26

“During the first semester, we worked on study and time management skills, while the second semester focused on learning about getting on track to thrive in our future careers. We also had the opportunity to learn about all the fantastic resources we have at Quinnipiac. Everything was always taught in a fun and creative way. I was hesitant to join at first because I didn't know what the experience would entail, but I can confidently say I would join all over again if I could. I made great friendships and connections for my academic and career journey, and I never felt lost as a student.”

Bobcat Academy Representatives

Corey Kiassat is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and the Associate Dean of the School of Computing and Engineering. He is the co-Director of Bobcat Academy. Prior to Bobcat Academy, he was the Director of First-year Academy, a program specific to the School of Computing and Engineering, focused on helping women and under-represented minorities thrive. Professor Kiassat provides direct support to engineering and computing students in Bobcat Academy.

Headshot of Corey Kiassat
Headshot of Corey Kiassat

Michael Vieth is a Senior Teaching Instructor of Biological Sciences. He is the co-Director of Bobcat Academy. He is also a faculty mentor supporting Quinnipiac University Advancing Diversity in Science (QUADS), where QU has partnered with high schools to engage with the students and their respective communities and helping the students apply science knowledge and skills to understand community-based phenomena or to solve a community problem. Professor Vieth coordinates the Health Sciences introductory Biology series, as well as teaches in those courses.  He provides support to the students in the Introductory Biology courses.

Headshot of Michael Vieth
Headshot of Michael Vieth

Elyssa Wrubel is the Advising Specialist for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and is one of the CAS Program Advisors for Bobcat Academy. As the Advising Specialist, Elyssa primarily works with students who are Exploring CAS (undeclared Liberal Arts), transfer students and first-year students in CAS. Elyssa also teaches CAS110, a 1-credit course designed to help Exploring CAS students learn more about the various majors and career paths available to them.

Elyssa Wrubel
Elyssa Wrubel

Rosa Nieves is the Assistant Director for Academic Advising in the School of Communications (SOC). She is an instructor for COM 101 – Communications First-Year Seminar, teaching incoming First-Year students about the SOC curriculum, strategically preparing for registration and nurturing a growth mindset. Ms. Nieves provides support to Communications Undeclared students in their first and second year, transfer students and advises students exploring their interests to declare a major and minor that aligns with students’ long-term career goals. In the community at large, she is an advocate in social justice initiatives with a commitment to DEIJ.

Headshot of Rosa Nieves
Headshot of Rosa Nieves

Vanessa Gonzalez-Figuereo is the Assistant Dean for Advising and Student Services in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a bilingual student affairs professional with 20 years of experience in higher education. At Quinnipiac, Ms. Gonzalez-Figuereo provides direct support to all incoming, transfer and current College of Arts and Science students, serves as program director for the Professional Studies program and teaches CAS110, a 1-credit course designed to help Exploring CAS students learn more about the various majors and career paths available to them.

Vanessa Gonzalez-Figuereo
Vanessa Gonzalez-Figuereo

Kristen Hohmann is the Director of Student Services for the School of Business and a Quinnipiac alum with seven years in higher education and more than 20 years of corporate and small business experience. Kris oversees the School of Business academic advising program, is the program contact for the Dual-Degree BS/MBA programs and business minors and teaches MBA688 Graduate Internship for Credit course. In addition, to her role as Program Advisor of Bobcat Academy, she serves as a Faculty Affiliate mentoring students living in the Business 3+1 Learning Living Community as they transition to college life and provides support to all undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Business assuring successful progression through to graduation.

Kris Hohmann
Kris Hohmann

Jerilyn Nolan is an Occupational Therapy Practitioner with over 30 years of clinical experience combined with a focus on education and 18 years teaching in higher education. She is an Academic advisor primarily for first year students and teaches in the Health Science Studies program. As a Bobcat Academy Program Advisor, Dr. Nolan is committed to being an additional resource for first year students, as they acclimate to college life and explore their future goals. Jerilyn is currently piloting a program where Quinnipiac is partnering with area high schools to provide early college experience (ECE) for those interested in learning more about the healthcare professions. She is also the co-Director of Healthcare Career Exploration Academy, a residential summer program providing high school students with a broad understanding of the allied health professions and a glimpse of QU campus life. As a Bobcat Alumni, Jerilyn is an effective liaison in promoting student success and a sense of belonging within the QU community.

Jerilyn Nolan
Jerilyn Nolan

Gladys Vallespir Ellett is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing. Prior to becoming a nurse, she worked in various careers including Student and Academic Affairs. She is a first-generation graduate and is immensely proud of her Argentine roots. Throughout her more than 20 years in nursing, Dr. Vallespir Ellett, has served in several perinatal nursing positions that include perinatal education, lactation and nursing leadership. She is graduate of the Florence Downs PhD program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and holds a master’s degree in Higher Education from The American University. In addition to her role as a Bobcat Academy Program Advisor, she serves as a Faculty Affiliate for the Nursing Living Learning Community. Committed to supporting students, she currently lives in Commons residence hall and hosts bi-weekly Cookie Nights in Commons with her husband.

Headshot of Gladys Vallespir Ellett
Headshot of Gladys Vallespir Ellett

Colleen Thompson is the Associate Dean for Student Recruitment & Success in the School of Health Sciences here at Quinnipiac. She brings many years of experience in higher education. Colleen came to Quinnipiac 10 years ago to be the Director of Advising for the School of Health Sciences. She has been advising and teaching pre-health students for many years in the higher education setting. Her background in education, counseling and nutrition lends itself well to the mission and vision of Bobcat Academy. She fully enjoys working with first year students and supporting their goals and looks forward to being a Program Advisor for the School of Health Sciences students.

Headshot of Colleen Thompson
Headshot of Colleen Thompson

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