Fall 2015

Welcome Back 2015

Updated -- 8 /20 / 15

New Faces, New Facades Greet Loudoun to Start School Year


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The new HEC is just one of the excitng things happening at NOVA-Loudoun this year!


STERLING, Va.-- August's swampy heat still lingers in No.Va., but here at NOVA, fall is already in full swing. Instructors rush to finish planning, while students bustle to sign up for their classes, check out their schedules and buy new books.

Here at The Loudoun Lantern, your online student newspaper for NOVA's Loudoun Campus, we have some great stories to get you introduced to the new year -- and, especially, some new happenings around our school.

For instance, let Alexei introduce you to the newest program offered at NOVA Loudoun: viticulture. It turns out, these hills grow some great grapes!

Or, read Anne's exploration of the NOVA Idol competition. Maybe it's your year to take the stage? If you're not exactly the next Kelly Clarkson but want to use the stage to develop your speaking skills, Celia can introduce you to NOVA's award-winning forensics team.

Of course, we know our campus community extends beyond NOVA's property. Our students journalists have been out in the community, covering all our region has to offer. Music lovers hoping for one last concert should read Michelle's profile of the local gem, Wolf Trap. The more tech-savvy might want to try Delinda's piece, about how one local group is helping women learn one of the most in-demand skills: coding.

As always, we would love to hear more from you! The Lantern's content is completely student generated, and with so many of our writers moving on and moving up, we need new folks. Learn how you can come have fun while gaining marketable media skills!

The Nova Idol Effect :College Competition Connects Community

Earlier this year, on the evening of Friday, March 27, three finalists in the NOVA Idol competition held hands while huddled on the stage of the Alexandria campus Schlesinger Center. After singing their best through multiple rounds of the competition, Alexis Melton, Jasmine Bryant, and Shakahyla Harris were anxiously awaiting the announcement of the first-, second-, and third-place winners.

Annually since 2003, NOVA students and high school students have come from all over the area to participate in NOVA Idol. Its website describes it as a “multi-faceted powerhouse event,” and “100 percent student-focused.” The competition boasts many opportunities and is open to all NOVA students and even to the area’s high school students. Most of those interviewed at NOVA for this article say it offers a number of benefits, not least of which is getting students involved with their campus, college, and community.

Brian Anweiler, the college-wide Student Activities Coordinator, says the competition forces students (typically more than 250 audition) out of their comfort zone, adding that most students report that stage fright is the hardest obstacle to overcome.

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Loudoun Ready to be Newest Stomping Ground for Vineyards

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It's a cool but sunny spring day at Veramar Vineyards--families, couples, and friends are sitting around enjoying the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains while sipping on Rooster Reds and Pink Chickens and snacking on Italian meats and gourmet cheeses.

Meanwhile, inside the tasting room of Sunset Hills Vineyard, the scene is full of chatter—wine educators are teaching people about different grapes, explaining how the weather affects their taste, or recommending what food pairs well with Sunset White. This is a typical Saturday in DC's wine country where the atmosphere is relaxing, the views are breathtaking, and the visitors find themselves unwinding.

Of the 200+ wineries and vineyards in Virginia, 42 of them reside in Loudoun County and the list keeps growing. So how do you nurture this booming business and make sure it doesn't bust?


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Local Gem Wolf Trap Is Just Like You: Diverse, Unique and Special

"I think it is one of the most unique places in the country as far as a performing arts center being in a National Park. I am not sure that exists anywhere else," said Lisa Laclede, visitor to the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts park and part-time employee of the Filene Foundation. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, known locally as Wolf Trap, is the only national park Congress dedicated to the performing arts in the United States. Located 10 miles east of the NOVA Sterling campus, lives 130 acres of a unique outdoor oasis free for anyone to enjoy year round.

As you enter the park, you will see grassy areas available for picnics, kite flying, dog walking, cloud watching or parking for sold out concerts along with the official parking areas. In front of the entrance to the performing stage lives a wildlife flower garden in a bowl shaped layout. Once you enter the performance area, the wooden stage is accessible by walking down either the steps or the hill.

What Laclede likes about the park is, "The whole experience of being able to come to a National Park to walk around at any time of the year, you're free to come. There is no charge for parking, there no charge to get into the park."

In addition to the standard park activities, in the winter all ages can go sledding on the Big Hill and the Bowl. Rifenbark said, "They could see as many as 1,000 people come through over a period of four to five days after a big snowstorm"

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Nine Months to a New Career: Women Code Path to Success

Each Monday evening from 6:30 to 8:30, Sarah Kleinman and a group of 10-20 women gather in rooms, donated by D.C. tech companies, to network, learn and hack the programming language JavaScript.

Women of all ages and races sit at conference room tables, on couches and in chairs that look as if they should be in a hookah lounge, sharing information on job openings, troubleshooting code and mentoring new programmers while munching on donated pizza and snacks.

There is a whiteboard at the front of the room where the evening's sponsor has written, "Welcome!"

Kleinman walks over to the whiteboard and writes the most important information, the wi-fi access code, then turns to the group. "Hi Everyone," Kleinman says. "Welcome to Front End Hack Night. We don't really have an agenda. Everyone can work on their own projects. If you're new the JavaScript, we have some beginner resources on git hub. I can show you how to find them."


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