David Liendo of Falls Church has been selected to receive a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. He will graduate from Northern Virginia Community College in May 2012 with an associate degree in science and a 4.0 GPA.
Liendo is one of 60 scholars selected this year to receive the award. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 per year and is intended to cover a significant share of the student’s educational expenses, including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees, for the final two to three years necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree.
NOVA President Robert G. Templin Jr. congratulated Liendo on behalf of the College. “David is well known and respected among faculty and NOVA administrators for his hard work, creativity, enthusiasm and determination to make a difference. We are delighted that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will support David as he continues on his career path to become a medical doctor.”
“I am so grateful to NOVA and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for opening the door of my American Dream. Every time I complete or accomplish something that gets me closer to achieving my dream, I know that it is due to the support of NOVA and the Pathway Program,” Liendo said.
Originally from Bolivia, Liendo won second place in the South American Karate International Competition at age 16 and that presented an opportunity to come to the United States. He knew only one English word when he arrived but decided to stay, leaving his family behind and living with relatives. Since that time he has worked numerous jobs to pay all his expenses.
Liendo graduated from Falls Church High School in 2010, the first in his family to complete high school. He is a participant in NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, which provides support for at-risk students starting in high school, through NOVA and on to a four-year institution.
In addition to working full-time and completing a heavy academic load that included advanced math and laboratory sciences, Liendo found time to serve as president or vice president of several student organizations. His volunteer work includes tutoring at Falls Church High School, working with at-risk high school students in a local community center, and delivering food to homeless people in Washington, D.C.
He has been accepted by Cornell University, Virginia Tech, University of California at Los Angeles and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is waiting to hear from other colleges. He wants to become a doctor or scientist in the field of cancer research because several of his family members have been touched by cancer.
One of his recommendations said: “David is truly destined to be a change agent on this planet and we will be better for his contributions. There is no doubt he will succeed in his chosen career direction. His personal motivation and his inability to take anything for granted will propel him on to the next phase of his journey.”
Liendo is the sixth NOVA student in the last seven years to receive the scholarship. Previous recipients are Dan F. Nechita (2006), Jean-Blaise Ognong (2007), Edward Sawyer (2009), Karima Ben Ayed (2010) and Kyle Stevenson (2011).
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.