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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine Visits NOVA-Alexandria

Tim Caine, students, Chad Knights at NOVA
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, far left, chats with students in a chemistry lab during a visit to NOVA-Alexandria. Chad Knights, far right, interim dean of the science, technology and business division at NOVA-Alexandria, looks on.

Speaks with administrators, students and faculty about STEM

In an effort to learn about the nexus between career and technical education and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia visited the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Monday.

Kaine, along with U.S. Sen. Robert Portman of Ohio, recently formed the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus. The bipartisan Caucus, co-chaired by Kaine and Portman, will focus on improving and strengthening access to career and technical education to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century.

Kaine lauded Virginia’s Community College System for meeting the work needs of the region. “There is sometimes a mismatch between what employers want and what students are learning,” he said. “Community colleges do a good job of bridging that skills mismatch.”

Kaine had a roundtable discussion with administrators, faculty and several students during his visit. Students spoke about their academic pursuits such as earning an associate of science degree or a cybersecurity certificate. Also on hand were representatives from SySTEMic Solutions, including its director Amy Harris.

SySTEMic Solutions is a STEM outreach program at NOVA focused on developing an education-to-career pipeline in the STEM fields. The program aims to have 40,000 students preparing for STEM careers by 2016.

Before taking a tour of campus, he met with the members of the NOVA Robotics Team 1, which is headed to the VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Anaheim, Calif. The students gave robotics demonstrations to the senator.

Kaine’s tour included visits to the developmental math lab and concepts room, a biology lab and a chemistry lab where he was greeted by students doing makeup work because of a recent college closure due to snow. He also met briefly with individuals taking part in a National CyberWatch Center Leadership event on campus.

Media Contact: Jennifer Gonzalez | 703.425.5839 | jgonzalez@nvcc.edu

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.