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Service Learning

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IPS assists students from NOVA, other community colleges around the country and educational institutions around the globe in finding internships in the Washington, D.C., area. IPS works to identify and partner with organizations, agencies and companies throughout the area that welcome college students as interns. Students receive valuable on-the-job experience while earning academic credit.

The IPS Coordinator meets individually with each student to discuss potential placements that align with their interests, future career plans and compliment their studies at NOVA. Once potential placements have been identified, students prepare to apply for the internship position with an organization. After a student has applied, the IPS Coordinator will follow up with each organization and advocate for student’s acceptance. Once accepted, students work with a faculty member who will monitor the student’s progress over the course of the internship.

The overall process takes time, dedication and hard work on the part of the students interested in interning and requires researching opportunities, applying, creating a resume, cover letter and possibly interviewing. The IPS coordinator will assist students and serve as an advisor throughout this process.

Partnership with IBS

As part of a special internship program, the International Business School of Gothenburg (IBS), Sweden, has partnered with NOVA. Each year IBS sends a cohort of students to study in the U.S. These students enroll at NOVA and take a full load of courses in either Journalism & Public Relations, or Global Affairs & Diplomacy in their first semester. In their second semester, students take on full-time internships with various government and non-government organizations in the region for academic credit.

NOVA Studio

NOVA Studio

NOVA Studio is a service-learning initiative that provides pro bono graphic and interactive design services for community based, educational and governmental organizations in Northern Virginia.

Select Communication Design students enhance their conceptual and technical skills through working on real-world projects. The studio experience helps to cultivate students’ design principles, ethics, and business acumen as well as enhance their portfolios for future employment. In turn, our clients receive innovative design projects in a timely, professional manner.

Students and Faculty

Intermediate and advanced Communication Design students are selected for the Studio based on several factors including their portfolio of work. The students enroll in a supervised internship class that is taught by Communication Design faculty. Objectives for the internship are linked to meaningful community service and professional design practices.

Student designers meet with clients to analyze the needs and objectives for the work. They develop design solutions based on time, budget and job parameters.


The Studio identifies potential community partners and clients through suggestions from colleagues, alumni and organizations that contact the Communication Design program directly. Faculty interview potential clients to determine if the design work wanted fits the skill level of the students and can be done in the time period allotted.

Below is a partial list of organizations the studio has done design work for since its inception:

  • City of Alexandria, 2010 Census
  • NOVA Streetcar Coalition
  • Alexandria Farmers’ Market Co-ops
  • NOVA Music Program
  • NOVA Institute for Public Service
  • Drive 2 Success
  • Martin Luther King Day of Service
  • Smithsonian Museum of American History
  • Marine Corps Marathon
  • Neighbor Up America!
  • Marie Louise Jackson Amphitheater
  • Arlington Public Schools
  • NOVA Sustainability Office
  • Civil War Conference and Concert

Clients are asked to make donations to the NVCC Educational Foundation to help with expenses and scholarships for future design students, but are not required to do so.


Ensembles from the Music Department perform pro bono for civic events throughout Northern Virginia. In the past, student and faculty musicians have performed at the 2012 Post-Election Conference, the Living Legends Annual Ceremony at the Patent and Trade Office and area retirement homes.