Emma Howard Is a Proud Second-Generation Nighthawk

November 21, 2023

Emma Howard grew up in Northern Virginia. She is excited to attend NOVA and is not the first member of her family to be a Nighthawk.

Emma would also tell you that one NOVA class had a profound impact on her and it wasn't just the class itself that made such a big difference for her.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:

I have spent my entire life in Woodbridge. My whole family was born and raised here. My father, before he transferred to George Mason University, attended NOVA. That was the same path for my brother, who graduated from NOVA in 2018. And I plan to graduate within the next year.

What do you like about NOVA?

I’m glad I’m attending NOVA because it offers a supportive community, resources and opportunities where I can learn, make mistakes and figure things out.

NOVA provides the time and environment to learn about myself and explore different majors, industries and careers. I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to do, but isn’t everyone in a way?

What are you studying at NOVA?

I'm majoring in liberal arts with a specialization in English. For a long time, my goal was to become a high school theater teacher and then obtain an English certification for stability. I've always had an interest in the arts, film and theater. I've acted, been stage manager and directed for many years. I'm still considering that path.

But teachers who care about their students play a significant role in the development of young adults in our society. All I want to do, which is the allure of teaching for me, is to help people. I want to be a mentor to others and achieve good things. That's what everyone wants to do in some way in whatever job they do - they want to have a positive impact.

Currently, I am excited about the possibility of getting into media production or communications. I could mentor in media, film, communications, theater or production.

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA, i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met. 

Professor Lucy Holsenbake has truly been a life-changing mentor for me. What's funny is I wasn't supposed to be in her class, Intro to Communications. There was this whole debacle. I don't know if it was God, luck or willpower, but I'm so grateful I got to be in her class. I am incredibly fortunate to have her as a mentor and a friend; and NOVA is extremely fortunate to have her.

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?

I’ve learned that NOVA guides you in getting ahead and helps you develop strength. I think community college graduates who go into the workforce or go to a four-year school have a certain drive, determination and perseverance that I don’t think you get if you go straight into a four-year year.

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring?

I’m in the ADVANCE program. It’s a godsend in determining what to do next. Trying to figure it out yourself can be a little daunting. However, the ADVANCE program smooths out the process of enrolling at Mason. My entire family graduated from Mason.

I’m looking forward to having my own experience there. Right now, I’m on the pathway to getting a bachelor’s in English, but who knows, that could change. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from NOVA and carry it forward to Mason and beyond.

Topics: featured article, student success