NOVA Alum's Journey: Discovering the Path She Was Meant to TakeĀ 

March 21, 2024

Sogand Rahmani was born in Iran, and her family moved to the United States when she was a child. She grew up in Loudoun County, Va., and later attended NOVA, where she earned an associate degree in business administration.

Portrait of Sogand Rahmani

After NOVA, Sogand transferred to George Mason University. She had intended to continue in business but changed her mind, ultimately earning her bachelor's in international affairs. Read on to learn how Sogand’s journey to her future profession, though not exactly linear, taught her to be confident and keep an open mind.

Tell us a little about yourself.
In Iran, my brother and I were not allowed to attend university or any private schools because of religious persecution. Luckily, in 2001, when I was 11 years old, my family moved to the States.

Although my parents didn’t go to college, I always knew that I would go. That said, I wasn’t fully aware of the importance of the SAT until after I took the test; I had no idea you had to prep for it! Needless to say, my scores weren’t so great.

Right after graduating from Park View High School in Sterling, I signed up for NOVA. I knew it was a financially smart decision. My parents were paying for my education, but only as long as I maintained good grades.

Going to NOVA was also convenient for me since the Loudoun Campus was five minutes from my house. That gave me a lot of time to study and work. I had to go for an extra semester, but it was all good because I really liked the experience there.

What brought you to NOVA?
I understand that school isn’t for everyone. Some of my friends decided not to go to college, and I saw some of them struggling to find opportunities and the right career path.

For me, attending NOVA opened my eyes to so many possibilities. It wasn’t just about getting an education or earning a degree but also about meeting people, learning about different career fields and discovering what’s possible. I always encourage people to go to NOVA!

Can you share a fun memory or anecdote about your time at NOVA?
Professor Miguel Corrigan made a lasting impression on me. He taught business management at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus. I remember Professor Corrigan inviting his students to networking events where NOVA graduates would speak.

Fast-forward a few years, and I was one of the NOVA grads speaking to current NOVA students! It gives me chills to talk about it: When I was a student surrounded by all those professionals, I always thought I had to be perfect like them to do well in my classes and eventually graduate. What I realized is that those professionals were real people who dealt with the same kinds of challenges that I did, and they made it. That gave me the confidence to know I could do it, too!

What were your educational goals?
I graduated from NOVA in Spring 2011 with a degree in business administration. I applied to George Mason’s business school and was accepted; however, because of the math requirements, I ended up switching majors. I pursued a degree in international affairs with the intention of working for the State Department, but instead ended up in the field of information technology.

What is your job?
I’ve been working in federal IT contracting for the past decade; I offer IT services including data analytics and website development to the government.

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?
If you don’t know what you’re going to do, don’t worry — no one knows! People change career paths all the time, and it’s OK. It happens to everyone. Just start somewhere. If you finish there, great. If not, you’ll do something else. Just keep moving forward.

Life throws you curveballs. If things don’t go your way, consider it a lesson learned. Another door — or maybe many doors — will open for you. Just keep an open mind.

Any final thoughts?
NOVA is amazing! Just trust your gut. Go to NOVA and save some money. There's a great student body here, and you get the same level of education as you do at any other college.

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