Staff Spotlight: Ada Rivera

“Students make connections with the people here, and not with the center. It’s our student coaches, interns, and mentors who keep these students coming back,” says Ada Rivera, Assistant Director of Academic Support, Hartford Academic Achievement Center (AAC). The mission of the AAC is to help students achieve the grades they want! The AAC does this by creating programs that help students with personal and academic goals, developing effective study strategies, and aiding in personal transitions through the university setting. In order to support students in the transition to virtual platforms, “we’ve been taking a more holistic approach to education,” said Ada. “Students are more overwhelmed and isolated and it’s important for them to know that all of our programs are online. More than before we are hearing from students, ‘I don’t belong here,’ and ‘this is too hard,’ and on top of that – Zoom fatigue. The brain is in crisis mode instead of learning mode. At the AAC, we are socially distant, but we want our students to know that they do not need to be isolated or tackle the semester on their own.” In spite of the conditions, what has deeply moved Ada has been the resiliency of students. “Sometimes, as instructors, we forget what it’s like to be a student and how challenging it is to learn in a completely different learning mode. Having one of my students earn a 3.5 GPA and get accepted into law school during a pandemic is a major accomplishment for that student and a reflection of our work here in the AAC.” And when Ada isn’t saving the world, she is enjoying aromatherapy, reading, solving crossword puzzles, and snuggling up to the Hallmark Channel. Thank you and rest up, dear Ada, we’ll need you again come Spring semester.