First-Generation NOVA Nighthawk Grateful for Her Parents’ Sacrifices

November 8, 2023

Jasleen Kaur is a North Indian American. She is one of the first in her extended family to be born and raised in the United States. Her parents come from different parts of India. She witnessed their struggles as they worked hard to provide her with a better life. Their sacrifices inspired her to make the most of her life and take advantage of all opportunities that come her way.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I'm a first-generation kid born in Maryland and raised in Virginia. After graduating from Tuscarora High School in Loudoun County, I’ve focused on self-growth and advancement. Growing up, I watched my parents work from the ground up to provide me with opportunities, which instilled in me a strong drive to take any opportunity I was given. My mom is from Jalandhar, Punjab, while my dad is from Himachal Pradesh. They left their comfort zones to provide me with this life full of endless opportunities, and I’ll take every step I can to make it worth it.  

What brought you to NOVA?

At first, I had no intention of enrolling at NOVA. During high school, I felt pressured to get a scholarship and go to a university right after graduation. But as I got into 11th and 12th grade, my perspectives and priorities changed. After thinking more rationally and considering the financial aspect of college, I decided NOVA was the best route.

Community college can be a great option for those who are still figuring out their path. It offers a non-judgmental environment for personal growth and development. The best part is that it gives everyone a chance to grow and allows you to take things at your own pace. I decided on NOVA because it’s the perfect pace for me right now. 

 What are you studying or do you plan to study at NOVA?

I’m studying cybersecurity right now, which I am very determined about. In fact, I’ve already gotten one of my certifications (CompTIA Security+) through NOVA. It’s just amazing; you don’t have to pay a single dime for the vouchers they provide for these certifications. All they want from you is to pass.

I’m currently in the ADVANCE program, and I’ll be going to George Mason University for a bachelor’s in IT with a concentration in cybersecurity. I love how NOVA has it set up so you can directly see the classes you need to take and can easily reach out to advisors at NOVA as well as GMU. It makes the transition really seamless.

Tell us about your experience at NOVA (i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met). 

My favorite surprise was taking a communications class with Professor Lucy Holsonbake. I never thought I would learn so much from a communications class, but thanks to Professor Holsonbake, I gained a lot of knowledge and valuable skills. We just have some great professors and programs here at NOVA.

NOVA has allowed me to achieve great things, even after a lot of self-doubt. I now feel fulfilled, and I can make my parents feel even more proud of me.

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?

The resources here are insane. Utilize the resources and take advantage of all the opportunities given to you. When people come to a community college, they often underestimate the number of resources there. If you look, there's a lot at NOVA just waiting for you.

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

After graduating from NOVA in the fall of 2024, I’ll head to George Mason University. The goal is to hopefully get an internship while obtaining my bachelor’s and, from there, move forward with landing an official job.

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