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After two false starts, NOVA grad discovers college is best option for success

Photo of Kevin Baisden

Northern Virginia Community College graduate Kevin Baisden was raised in Maryland and graduated high school at the age of 16. He attempted college twice before coming to NOVA where he has excelled in his studies. Baisden was one of only three students recommended by President Scott Ralls for the Georgetown University Preferred Consideration Program. He also recently learned he was accepted to Columbia University, and he now finds himself bound for New York.

Kevin said his previous experiences with college before NOVA could be attributed to him not being quite ready for that step at the early age of 16. By the time he started classes at NOVA in 2013, it had been more than 10 years since he had stepped foot in a classroom as a college student. Kevin said some of the choices he made created difficult circumstances for him, but he aimed to learn and grow from them.

“Before, I tried college twice, once in 2003 and again in 2005, and didn’t finish. Honestly, immaturity got the best of me. I was working in retail management, and I eventually parted ways with that industry,” Kevin explained. “After some challenging life circumstances, I finally realized that returning to school was my best option.”

“Coming to NOVA at first was difficult. I had been out of the classroom for more than a decade and I was older than the other students in my class. But I was pleasantly surprised because I ended up getting into the Honors Program and becoming completely engrossed in my studies.”

While attending NOVA, Kevin worked in the Dean of Students Office and the Office of the Provost at the Alexandria Campus where he has loaned his many talents to the campus. “I thought I would be doing a lot of administrative work, but it’s very engaging what I do here,” he said.

During his time at NOVA, Kevin has been recognized for his hard work, dedication to the community and his academic achievements. For his efforts, he has received a number of awards and scholarships including the Deanna Bronder Endowed Scholarship, the Herblock Foundation Scholarship Award, the Dr. Belle S. Wheelan Endowed Scholarship, the ExxonMobil Research Award, the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council Research Award and many others. Kevin has also maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher while attending NOVA.

In his letter of recommendation, Ralls describes Kevin as passionate and influential on campus and a major contributor to a number of committees at NOVA-Alexandria.
“On campus, Kevin’s interests and passions translate into tangible results that build community and create opportunity for others,” he wrote. “He has worked as the Student Government finance officer and co-founded the Finance and Honors clubs at the Alexandria Campus. Additionally, he has been asked to serve on his campus’ Diversity Committee, Provost Selection Committee and Student Leadership Committee.”

Kevin graduated in May 2016 with two degrees and two certifications from NOVA – two associate of science degrees in business administration and general studies and certifications in business information technology and general education. Ultimately, he plans to pursue a doctorate in economics.

“I’m leaning more toward research because I’d like to become an econometrician, particularly in areas of economic policy that disrupt economic segregation,” Kevin said. “I see that, given my circumstances and the goals I have for myself, education is a necessity.”

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.