Two NOVA Students Awarded a National Community College Transfer Scholarship

May 11, 2023

Lansdowne, VA (May 9, 2023) – Two NOVA Nighthawks, are among 60 national high-achieving community college students selected to receive the 2023 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship aims for it promising Cooke Scholars to complete their undergraduate educations with as little debt as possible. This award of last-dollar funding after all institutional aid is applied, provides students across the nation with as much as $55,000 per year to complete a bachelor’s degree.


This year’s 459 semifinalists were chosen from a nationwide pool of more than 1,700 applicants attending 215 community colleges in 38 states. With 13 semifinalists, NOVA students represent nearly two-thirds of Virginia semifinalists this year. In the past 14 years, 22 NOVA students have received the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

“We are so incredibly proud of our two Nighthawks for receiving this prestigious scholarship award. They, along with all our JKCF semifinalists, inspire others through their commitment to academic success and dedication to service,” said Anne M. Kress, president of NOVA. “I thank the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for supporting the dreams of outstanding community college students across the nation. I know our two finalists will go on to even greater accomplishments in the years ahead.”

One of the brilliant Nighthawks, Stefania Piciorea plans to continue her studies in computer science at Cornell University or George Washington University. She originally started at NOVA as an international student from Romania and has accomplished so much in her two years here. She plans on learning more about artificial intelligence and machine learning to create innovative applications that can help build community, facilitate communication and improve human health and experience. Read more about her here.

“There are so many bright and persistent community college students in our nation who we know will thrive at four-year institutions if they can find a way to transfer without being weighed down by a heavy financial burden,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We are excited to welcome yet another cohort of Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars to our community after learning about them through their applications and seeing their unbound potential.”

Along with financial support, new Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of more than 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni.

This year, more than 1,700 students from 448 community colleges applied to receive the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership.

A list of the 2023 Cooke Transfer Scholars, including their community colleges, can be found here.


The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $250 million in scholarships to more than 3,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $125 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

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