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Honors Program Students and Alumni

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Our Honors Students Share Their Accomplishments

Abigail Allen

Abigail Allen

I would not be the person I am today if I had not taken the incredible opportunity to attend NOVA and participate in the Honors Program. The program allowed me to enroll in engaging courses with passionate faculty, while simultaneously becoming a stronger student and leader within my campus community.

I took part in events such as the ExxonMobil Honors Symposium, the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council Conference, and even the 2015 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Chicago through the Honors Program. These experiences allowed me to become a more effective communicator and permitted me to explore topics I was passionate about. I also attended a study abroad program in Ireland. I was thrilled to travel outside of the country for the first time in my life through the Honors Program.

The Honors courses I took were fast-paced, challenging, and connected me with peers and faculty who were hugely impactful on my college experience. I loved the level of dedication my peers in the program had to their education and their community, and they made me want to put forth the best possible version of myself. I will always be incredibly thankful for my time in the Honors Program, and would absolutely encourage anyone with interest to participate.

Abigail Allen, 2016 Honors Program Graduate with an Associates in General Studies. Currently, a senior at George Mason University pursuing a degree in Criminology, Law, and Society with a minor in Forensic Psychology.

Alyssa Black

Alyssa Black

Alyssa Black completed the NOVA Honors program in the spring of 2014. During her time at NOVA, she served as the president of the Annandale Honors Club, the Administrative Assistant in the Honors Office and the student representative on both the Honors Committee and the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council. Black was a recipient of multiple awards during her time at NOVA, including the SEAL Award, the Academic Achievement Award, and the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges Award. Black transferred to the University of Virginia in 2014 and completed her bachelor's degree in English. 

Currently, Black serves as the program manager for the National Press Foundation in Washington D.C. Through this non-profit organization, she handles all logistics for the international and domestic training programs that NPF offers to journalists around the world.

Aman Waheed

Aman Waheed

The Honors Program at NOVA is an enriching, fulfilling experience that cannot be matched anywhere else. It is not merely the small class sizes, including more focus on students and professors, but the overall experience of meeting others on a mission toward success. During my time in the NOVA Honors Program, I met and heard students’ inspirational stories that were not far from my own, and from there we built a bond that will carry us for the rest of our lives.

I am currently studying Finance & Management at one of the best business schools in the nation -- all thanks to NOVA! I have been placed in a group with students from different walks of life, and we compete in challenging business competitions and work with REAL companies to solve their REAL problems. I will be using my education to eventually start a venture in the technology industry and, later, build my own clothing brand. At the end of my NOVA experience, I learned to make the most of every opportunity and, most importantly, to NEVER GIVE UP!

2017 Honors Program graduate, NOVA AS degree in Business Administration, Jack Kent Cooke 2017 Scholarship recipient, and current University of Virginia student at McIntire School of Commerce

Anastasia Gerdes

Anastasia Gerdes

Anastasia Gerdes graduated from the Honors Program in May 2018 and is currently a student at the University of Virginia majoring in English and Anthropology. She has immersed herself in everything from music performance to pharmaceutical science, but has found a home in the written word and will be pursuing graduate work in English. To her, the best thing about the NOVA Honors Program is the opportunity to cultivate deep friendships through intellectual curiosity.

Brittany Spivey

Brittany Spivey

I wanted my NOVA experience to prepare me for the next step in my education as well as reflect my interests. At NOVA, I did this by joining the Honors Program in addition to running on the NOVA Women’s Cross Country Team and serving as the Annandale Campus Student Government President. 

Honors classes were always my favorite because they challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and encouraged creativity. My team competed for an imaginary research grant in my Honors Chemistry class. I literally and figuratively explored the cities, ruins, and cliffs of Ireland in my Honors Irish Literature class. My class passionately debated and negotiated as historical figures in a month-long simulation of the 1945 Simla Conference in my Honors History of India class. I also enjoyed giving presentations at NOVA Symposiums, the 2016 Virginia Collegiate Honors Conference, and the 2017 Southern Regional Honors Conference. 

In the Honors Club, I served as the Outreach Committee Chair of the Honors Club and enjoyed everything from a ballroom dancing lesson to volunteering for a highway trash pickup to a lecture on historical reenactment. In addition, I interned at the National Institutes of Health for eight weeks—an opportunity I heard about through the Honors Program. 

My experience at NOVA has changed the way I see myself and the world. I hope more students will take advantage of all that NOVA has to offer. I am grateful to the Honors Program for not only giving me a good first impression of NOVA but for guiding me through my time at NOVA and giving me support and advice along the way.

Charlotte Hepler

Charlotte Hepler

As an honors student at NOVA, I had the opportunity to take advanced classes with engaging professors, all at the price of a community college education. During my time as a student, I took nine honors classes and attended two different study abroad programs with the support of the NOVA Honors Program. I participated in academic conferences, attended the Honors Club, and even landed an internship at the National Institutes of Health through their community college program. My NOVA honors courses prepared me very well academically and allowed me to transfer into the Honors Program at my four-year institution. I greatly enjoyed my time in the NOVA Honors Program. The program provides excellent opportunities for motivated, community college students.

2016 Honors Program and A.S. graduate, current Marymount University student

Elizabeth Tikoyan

Elizabeth Tikoyan

Elizabeth Tikoyan is the Founder and CEO of Riley, a social network for people with disabilities, illnesses and caretakers. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia studying Youth and Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship and alumni of Harvard Business Schoolís Summer Venture in Management program and a Forbes Under 30 Scholar. I was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, where I worked both in a clinical and research capacity.

Furthermore, I have volunteered extensively at Georgetown Universityís Hospital where I worked closely with pediatric patients. In addition, I have founded and developed a preventative health program where I impacted over 1000+ children across Washington D.C., The Republic of Armenia and Georgia. I also worked closely with an NGO called, 2Gether-International where I provided entrepreneurial resources and business support to the disability community. 

My passion for health and disability advocacy stemmed from a 5+ year personal battle with a medical condition that left me with a chronic illness. That said, my personal and professional work in the medical field has equipped me to tackle a major problem in the disability and illness community: social isolation. It is my life mission to ensure that the disability and illness community are left happier and more fulfilled through my work as a social entrepreneur and I am using technology to accomplish my goal to make an impact!

Ianna Alhambra

Ianna Alhambra

Research, Enrichment, Academic Rigor, Leadership. NOVA's Honors Program is a prestigious opportunity for any and all individuals that have an interest and desire to further their academic career with a strong support system and in a healthy environment. In 2013, when I joined the Honors Program at NOVA my main interest was the smaller class sizes and student-led discussions in a seminar-style classroom. I had no idea the program would shape me into the confident, determined and outspoken individual I am today. I wouldn't be half the person I am today, if it wasn't for the support system that helped me when I was down, the rigorous courses that developed my go-getting work ethic, the enrichment's that helped further develop a deeper understanding of my world around me, and the leadership opportunities that I have been very fortunate to experience. 

The program helped me with my research abilities, gain the confidence I needed to speak with my professors at a four-year university, and the inspiration to give back to my community. I graduated from the NOVA Honors Program in 2015. It has set me up for success in my undergraduate program at George Mason University, and for that, I am forever grateful.

2015 Honors Program graduate, NOVA AS degree in General Studies and current George Mason University student majoring in Tourism and Event Management with a concentration in Event Management and minoring in Kinesiology

Jasmine Singletary

Jasmine Singletary

I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree from James Madison University, and I still connect all my accomplishments and future goals back to the Honors Program at NOVA. My love of international education began while studying abroad in London with the Honors Program during my freshman year, and in Ireland during my sophomore year. Had it not been for those two incredible opportunities, I would have never decided upon a career path administering study abroad and exchange programs for students, and I wouldn't be teaching English in Spain starting in October. I'm glad I made the most out of my time, regardless of being at a community college, because the Honors Program took me places far beyond my wildest imagination.

2015 Honors Program graduate, NOVA AS degree in Social Science and James Madison University 2017 graduate, BA in International Affairs

Jon Emch

Jon Emch

The NOVA Honors Program had one of the most significant impacts on my life. I was placed in courses that were fast-paced and led by professors of the highest caliber. Currently a student at a prominent four-year university, I can assure you that the talented professors at NOVA measure up, and sometimes exceed, those at my university. 

Honors challenged me as a student and as an individual. Through honors-specific courses, I had interactions with university leadership and studied abroad in Ireland in 2015. NOVA Honors prepared me for college and life, exposing me to many different points of view of people from many walks of life.

I was assigned extra work in most of my courses and had community service requirements. However, I encourage people to look past the work, and past the challenges. These hurdles only serve to make you a stronger student and better person. I can attest that through NOVA's Honors Program, I achieved both of those principles.

2016 Honors Program graduate, NOVA AS degree in Social Science with a GIS specialization and current Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE) student majoring in Geography and minoring in GIS and National Security and Foreign Affairs

Kaitlyn Hudenburg

Kaitlyn Hudenburg

An overwhelming majority of my friends went directly to a four-year university after high school. I chose to attend NOVA first, and now I am graduating in May from William & Mary at the same time as my friends. I experienced the best of both worlds and was given opportunities that my other friends were not. Studying abroad in Ireland as a sophomore and pay almost nothing because of our group fundraising was unheard of to my friends at other universities.

The NOVA Honors Program has had the single greatest influence on who I am today. The unwavering support I received while in the program allowed me to face my fear of public speaking. By the end of my two years at NOVA, I had delivered speeches about the research I was passionate about and had a chance to win prize money, at multiple state-wide and national conferences, including the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council Conference, National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, and the ExxonMobil Honors Symposium.

The small class sizes and the focus on research provide incredible opportunities to build confidence in a safe and supportive environment. I was more than prepared when I transferred to William & Mary in the fall of 2016 since I was already accustomed to doing presentations and group work. The tight-knit community is extremely special, and I cherish the friendships I made and the conversations I had with classmates and professors while in the program. Make the most of your time at NOVA and take advantage of the abounding resources and opportunities provided by the Honors Program. You will be impressed with who you can become, just as I have.

2016 Honors Program graduate, NOVA AS degree in Business Administration and current William & Mary senior majoring in economics and minoring in environmental science and policy.

Kristin Haes

Kristin Haes

Kristin Haes is a proud student of Northern Virginia Community College, where she is currently completing her second semester. She was recently inducted into the Honors program at NOVA and invests herself in extracurricular activities including volunteering at her church and vaulting with Topaz vaulters. She has been a competitive vaulter for eight years and has been an assistant coach of the team for three years.

Ronan Goforth

Ronan Goforth

Ronan Goforth completed the NOVA Honors Program in 2016. During their time at NOVA, they were the President of the Manassas Honors Club, founder and President of the Manassas Gender and Sexualities Alliance, and a Manassas Campus Student Ambassador. Ronan received the SEAL Award, Academic Achievement and Campus Involvement Awards, and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges Award during their time at NOVA. Thanks to the friendships they made at NOVA, they have been able to travel to six countries in four years with plans for more. 

They currently attend the University of Mary Washington and will graduate with a Bachelor's in American Studies and a double minor in Social Justice and Middle Eastern Studies in May 2019. During their time at UMW, they have been a Resident Assistant, President of the Arab Culture Club, Vice President of the Mortar Board Honor Society, a Transfer Peer Mentor, and even a member of the universityís show choir! Last fall, they were one of just fifteen undergraduates from across the country to present research at the Middle Eastern Studies Associationís Annual Meeting in San Antonio. In April, they will speak about Kurdish independence movements at the VCU Politics and Government Student Research Conference. 

After graduation, Ronan plans to move to Chicago to provide legal aid to immigrants and refugees before studying human rights law. They look forward to finally being in the same city as their partner, Caleb.

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