Anita Herrera Hamilton believes education and mentorship are vital to succeeding in school.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at UCLA in 1996 and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Fuller School of Psychology in Pasadena in 2005, the Long Beach resident is now giving back through social media.

Hamilton created, a social media site that launched this week and is aimed at introducing college students to mentors and mentees.

“Education and mentorship changed everything for me — my path, identity, relationships — all for the better,” Hamilton said in an interview with the Long Beach Post. “After graduating, I tried to ‘give back’ and join various mentorship programs. Most times, this involved a ‘matching process’ resulting in a few (coffee) meetings that eventually fizzled out over time. In reality, mentorship is often a fluid, organic and collaborative process involving a changing group of supportive team members. Embedding mentorship within social network technology provides users with a strategic tool to seek out and sustain multi-dimensional, dynamic mentorship tailored to their unique educational goals and needs. For many under-represented populations, the pursuit of education is heroic. Often, students from these populations must overcome daunting familial and societal hurdles outside of the classroom in order to gain a diploma. is a tool designed to help hard-working students negotiate these hurdles through connectivity and encouragement, allowing them to pursue knowledge, to graduate, and ultimately to pass their experience on to others.”

Hamilton said the site is a mentorship tool and not a program. Users can manually use the search feature to find contacts based on discipline, school, university, geography, family education history and other demographic information.

While the site is still in an early stage, Hamilton said students at Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine and USC have already registered, created profiles and joined groups. She said she expects 5,000 users in the site’s first year, with more students registering in the coming years.

The site differs from other social media sites because it is not used for self-promotion.

Instead, Hamilton said, “Users leverage their unique educational and life experiences to invest in others and promote social change. Gaining online access to mentors can be a profound shift for students who lack access to role models.”

While the site does allow users to meet mentors and mentees virtually, Hamilton said she believes Synaap is also a great tool for people who already have physical mentors and mentees.

“Access and time often undermine mentorship,” she said. “Like other social networks, facilitates real-time connectivity, with the specific aim of educational support, mentorship and career development. Effective mentorship doesn’t always require a face-to-face meeting. uses social network technology to facilitate ‘micro-mentorship’ or brief interactions to strategically encourage students to stay on track with educational goals.”

The site also has “Inspire” “Fuel” and “Balance” tabs that help students stay on track with career development, education, health and wellness.

While the tool may be thought of to be most useful to new college students, it is something that Hamilton recommends to students of all levels.

“Everyone needs mentorship,” she said. “ provides a level of technological functionality and flexibility to facilitate effective and strategic mentorship for every stage of education and career development. … The ultimate outcome [from this website] would be that our planet’s future professionals view mentorship not merely as an aspiration, but as an essential and intrinsic part of professional development.”