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Established in 1995, The John D. O’Bryant African American Institute’s Legacy Mentoring and Leadership Program (Legacy) seeks to enhance the retention rate, promote academic excellence, and encourage leadership skills, amongst students who identify with the African Diaspora. Legacy utilizes the expertise of Northeastern University’s students, faculty, and staff, to provide undergraduate first-year students with mentoring support, and other resources needed to have a positive and successful experience at the University.

What are the objectives of Legacy?

  1. To facilitate a smooth transition from high school to college
  2. To provide mentors and role models for students
  3. To provide support and information regarding services and resources on campus and in the surrounding community
  4. To encourage global awareness
  5. To encourage students to pursue academic, leadership and civic engagement opportunities

How does the program work?

To helps facilitate a meaningful and productive relationship, both mentors and mentees are interviewed and trained before being matched. Legacy recruit upperclassmen as potential peer mentors, training them on how to effectively offer personalized support to help new students overcome the emotional, social, and academic challenges they may encounter. Upon matching, each Legacy pair is required to interact with their match for at least 4-hours each semester and attend mandatory Legacy events.

Does Legacy offer additional types of support?

In addition to mentoring services, Legacy offers workshops and other types of programming to foster the growth of students in the following areas: academic excellence, personal and professional wellness, leadership development, cross-cultural dialogue, and community and social responsibility.

Academic Excellence

Legacy collaborates with university departments, and other organizations to increase scholastic achievement. Drawing from a wide network of educators, Legacy connects students to academic resources, such as tutorial services. Legacy also exposes students to university programming, such as lectures and panel discussions to supplement classroom knowledge. To support our students’ goals of integrating study and practice, Legacy creates opportunities for students to engage in undergraduate research. Past students have been published and/or recognized for their outstanding work.

Personal and Professional Wellness

Northeastern’s cooperative education program is a model for schools across the country. To help our students stay competitive, Legacy partners with campus offices and community organizations to offer professional development workshops. The professional development workshop’s goals are two-fold: Help students market themselves effectively for co-op and post-grad employment, and provide networking opportunities with area employers and professional organizations. Participants can have their resumes critiqued, receive interview coaching, and meet HR representatives from Boston’s most desirable employers.
In addition to the day-to-day challenges of university life, students also need resources enabling them to cope with financial issues. To address student’s financial concerns, Legacy offers workshops in the following areas: building a strong financial plan, tuition issues, credit card debt, and building a strong credit history.

Leadership Skills

Through partnerships with Northeastern’s LEAD 360, and other organizations, Legacy is committed to developing student’s capacity to lead. For instance, Legacy hosts information sessions which introduce students to a wide variety of university activities, and leadership opportunities on campus.

Cross-Cultural Dialogue

Our campus is diverse; with three unique cultural centers and a International Student and Scholar Institute. Legacy works with these organizations to create events aimed at bringing awareness to  global issues, and promoting cross-cultural exchange. These events include LEAD 360’s Intergroup Dialogues, and signature Institute programs such as Coast-to-Coast. In addition, Legacy works closely with the Office of International Study Programs to host an annual workshop to highlight study abroad opportunities. This workshop presents an informative discussion to educate students about the many opportunities available to study outside of the U.S. In addition, this forum sets students on the path to developing an academic plan that will allow them the greatest chance for international exploration.

Community and Social Responsibility

Legacy facilitates involvement in community service initiatives, in the U.S. and abroad.  Additionally, Legacy students have opportunities to give back by creating and participating in events which bring attention to issues of social inequality, diversity and the rich heritage of the African Diaspora.

What are the benefits and expectations of Legacy?


Student Mentors

  • Learn about university resources
  • Develop transferable interpersonal skills
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Become a recognized student leader on campus
  • Build lifelong relationships with members of the student body
  • Recognition for service to the community


  • Get acclimated to university life
  • Meet new people
  • Exposure to professional opportunities
  • Get advice from fellow students
  • Get academic assistance
  • Become acquainted with student organizations, and campus leadership opportunities
  • Find out about university services
  • Learn about graduate programs
  • Develop confidence to challenge oneself to achieve new goals


Student Mentors

  • Serve as role model for mentees
  • Share his/her experience with mentees
  • Assist mentees in navigating the University
  • Inform mentees on where to access University resources
  • Keep mentees informed of campus activities and programs
  • Keep all information confidential

Student Mentors Are Required To:

  • Maintain a 2.8 cumulative grade point average or higher  (However, all students are encouraged to apply.)
  • Meet with your mentee at least 4 hours throughout the semester
  • Meet with the Program Coordinator at least 2 times a month
  • Submit mentee contact sheets every two weeks
  • Attend all Legacy Student Mentor Training Sessions. There will be two training sessions each semester; 2 during the fall semester, and 2 during the spring semester
  • Attend the mentor/ mentee mixer held at the beginning of each semester
  • Complete an evaluation survey


  • Legacy is a personal choice for students who feel they will benefit from the programs resources
  • Frequently communicate and meet with your mentor
  • Participation in Legacy programs and workshops
  • Completing an evaluation survey

How do I get involved?

Applications are OPEN for the 2023-2024 academic school year.



We look forward to you joining our programs in the future!

For general inquiries, and questions about your application status, please contact Cinqué Dunham-Carson, Program Manager, at