NOVA’s Lucy Holsonbake Inducted into One Diverse Industry Hall of Fame

November 22, 2022

Lucy Holsonbake has led her students through another year representing NOVA at the One Diverse Industry’s (ODI) Conference. The 2022 conference, held at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, was themed ‘Celebrating Diverse Paths: Charting a Course in Media, Tech and Entertainment.’ Six NOVA students representing that college participated. 

Held in person for the first time since 2019, the conference is designed to help media professionals explore the many amazing opportunities and challenges facing media today and learn how to have an impact. Students from across the nation attend to meet and learn from executives from Google, Wieden + Kennedy, A&E, Vice, NPR, Warner Music Group and more.

This year, Professor Holsonbake was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her service, alongside Kathleen Finch, Discovery, Inc’s chief lifestyle brand officer. Finch leads Discovery’s 12-network portfolio of lifestyle networks, highlighted by HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, TRVL and OWN, among others. Lucy is proud to stand with Kathleen. It is important to recognize the importance of educators in tandem with industry leaders. This is a victory for all teachers.

Twelve years ago, Dolly Wolf, founder and coordinator of ODI, brought Brian Lamb, founder and CEO of C-Span, to talk to students at the NOVA Alexandria Campus. Lamb was impressed by the caliber of students at NOVA. Wolf was impressed with the hospitality and organization demonstrated by the campus and by Holsonbake. What resulted was the sponsorship of NOVA students attending the annual ODI conference year after year for more than a decade.

Hear Holsonbake’s own words in a recap of this year’s conference and her reminiscences of her 20 years here at NOVA. 

Tell us a little bit about the program and how it has benefited NOVA students who attend
We are grateful for the partial funding we have received from the cable industry and its supporters. We look to expand this program so more students can have access to educational outreach. All students need more access to internships and educational opportunities in different industries. I am so glad that my students are the ‘face’ of ODI, assisting in organizational and public relations tasks and meeting “up close and personal” so many industry leaders. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I went to Baylor University as a theater and speech major, and then University of North Texas for my master’s degree in performance studies and American public address. In addition, I have graduate hours in acting from The University of Washington, Seattle. My teaching has been recognized by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, as well as by the National Foundation of the Arts.

I have taught in community colleges in Dallas and in the Dallas public school system. Prior, I was a theater director and then a forensics coach running a nationally recognized debate team. After moving to the Northern Virginia area, I also taught at George Mason and at the Department of Corrections, which is an experience I would not have given up. In that space, I was working with parolees trying to help get their GEDs. Not a lot has changed since my college reading of Crime in America, by Ramsey Clark.

Currently, I am furthering my education at The John Hopkins School of Education to learn about “mind, brain and teaching.”  This program is challenging me to read the latest research in pedagogy and to better understand how the brain learns. I hope to develop a “Learning How to Learn” curriculum.

What brought you to NOVA?
My husband’s company in Texas was bought out and he was asked to go East. I was initially a theater and forensics director but had known that working in a community college was where I wanted to be. I knew there were many institutions where it was “publish or perish” or you fight for tenure, and I just wanted to focus on teaching. I was really thrilled to get this position at NOVA and have been happily here for 20 years. Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say…

Tell us how working with other faculty and staff members has been impactful to you?
There are so many stars in the “Constellation” that is NOVA faculty and staff. I am proud to stand among them. There are too many “bests” to single out even a few. The work I have done with the Alexandria Concert Band has been very satisfying. Dr. Petrella, the founder, asked me to narrate and to also act as the master of ceremonies at several concerts. When he left the band, due to his retirement, I was active in the search for a new leader. I then became active under the conductorship of Dr. Lisa Eckstein. Both directors are such excellent musicians alongside being master teachers. Being involved with the band is such fun. I love performing.

Tell us how working with students has been impactful for you?
I enjoy the students so much and enjoy their overall appreciation of me as their teacher. While we all love cash, appreciation is the strongest motivator for life-long educators. I am continually enriched and in awe of their stories. I have learned so much from them. Whether it is hearing the chilling stories of war, the frustrating stories of learning a new culture and language or hearing the pride one takes in becoming a United States citizen, I learn continually from them, and my world view is larger and more generous.  

I have been here at NOVA for 20 years and have seen NOVA go through a lot of changes. I would liken it to a little town that I have seen turn into quite a metropolis. I have learned to embrace the challenges of change. COVID taught all of us that! I was very proud of how proactive NOVA administration was on that particular circumstance. Well done!

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