The Most Important Thing for First-Gen Student is to Make His Parents Proud! 

October 13, 2023

Alex Ventura Ramirez is a first-generation Salvadoran American who takes great pride in his heritage. He is the first person in his family to attend college and started his studies at NOVA's Alexandria Campus in the fall of 2021. Since then, he has developed a strong sense of belonging. 


Alex is grateful for the opportunity to pursue higher education, but his ultimate goal is to achieve success and make his parents proud. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background: 
I feel really proud because I have decided to do something with my life! My parents are from El Salvador, and before moving to this country, they faced a lot of struggles. That is why they want me to succeed here. In the future, I’d like to help my mom and maybe build her a nice house. 

I work and attend school on the Alexandria Campus. I started working at the recreation center on campus last fall, and before that, I worked at the women's center. My position was almost like a receptionist who would help women out with the information they need.   

Being a people person, I often walk around the Alexandra Campus and hang out with people from diverse backgrounds. I don’t think I could go anywhere else because I'm so used to being around the same people here at this campus, that it would be challenging to make friends elsewhere.  

What brought you to NOVA?  
NOVA was the most affordable place I could go and be successful, rather than going to a pricey four-year school. I'm going to be very happy when I receive my degree. 

When I first started at NOVA, it was during COVID. I didn't really know anybody yet since I had just graduated from West Potomac High School in Alexandria. Also, everyone was wearing masks at the time, and people didn't get to know each other because everybody was scared of the virus and would just run away.  

Sitting through a whole class with a mask on wasn't easy. I just really had to stay focused on doing well in my classes. 

What are you studying or plan to study at NOVA? 
I decided to major in business administration because ever since I was seven years old, I wanted to learn how money was made and how to start a business. 

However, I also really love music! I was thinking about pursuing a musical career because I'm in love with Reggaeton and Latin Trap, but it's a very tough and competitive market to break into. Reggaeton is basically a dembow beat mix that is made with snare drum samples. The other genre known as Latin Trap is a mix of 808 samples. Also, I love languages. I would like to learn French or Portuguese and even perfect my Spanish. 

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met.  
In my opinion, I think that the Alexandria Campus is the sweetest. After spending two years here, I'm so used to people saying hello to me. It feels like I have a large circle of friends. 

Also, this NOVA community is the best part of the college experience because you meet lots of people, which puts a smile on your face. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything, and I love the number of friendships I have.  

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA? 
If a student wants to succeed and needs help in a specific subject, there's free tutoring on campus. If they need help with writing, they can go to the writing center. If they need help with math or any other subject, tutoring is free. People only look for help once they're really in trouble. Just know ahead of time that there's free tutoring. 

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring? 
I expect to get my associates degree in the fall of 2024. I’m in the ADVANCE program, so I will get my bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in finance at George Mason. 

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