Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:


Medical Education Campus hosts cultural acceptance event, NOVA United

Photo of Todd Lupton
Members of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Club provided treats and offered massages with proceeds to benefit the Fisher House Foundation at NOVA United.
“Who’s Bones Are These”
A MEC student participates in the “Who’s Bones Are These” challenge at the NOVA United event.

Students at Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education Campus (MEC) participated in a full-day of promoting a campus environment of inclusivity, respect and cultural acceptance on Dec. 8 through, NOVA United: One Love. My NOVA. One NOVA.

The Office of Student Life hosted the first-time MEC event to encourage students to overlook stereotypes and embrace our differences. Activity stations related to healthcare and teamwork were set-up throughout the campus to offer further insight on the meaning of equality and unity. “The Wall” allowed students to redress stereotypes by writing them down on paper bricks and placing them on a board. At the end of the event, each student was able to "tear down the wall" to symbolize that stereotypes can be shattered. “Who’s Bones Are These,” challenged students to determine the gender of an individual based on viewing x-rays. Although the complexity of the task seemed difficult at first, students discovered the answer was irrelevant after realizing each individual is the same on the inside. In addition to various collaborative activities, a free hug was offered to anyone in need of a pleasant gesture to continue their day on campus. Free hug buttons, keychains and t-shirts with the slogan “My NOVA, One NOVA” were given to students as a positive reminder to respect the campus community. 

The idea to host NOVA United began with Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) student Susan Windley and Student Activities Coordinator Patricia Martin-Mattocks. Windley spoke to Mattocks about possibly hosting an event for an important cause after witnessing negative acts displayed around the country following the 2016 presidential election.

“I wanted to know what I could do as a person to make things better in my own community, because NOVA is my community,” Windley said. “Since the election results, I have been noticing so much negativity in the news about aggression displayed among different cultural groups and it made me really sad. Then one day on campus I noticed a female student in the testing lab who seemed afraid and uneasy. I walked up to her, smiled, and I wished her well on her upcoming exams. She smiled back and just like that her demeanor changed, all from someone walking up to her and being kind.”

The purpose of Student Life at NOVA is to build a community of learners by facilitating extracurricular and co-curricular programs that support student civic engagement, leadership development, community involvement, teamwork, personal empowerment and retention. Those interested in becoming a volunteer or participating in activities, organizations and events at the MEC Campus should contact mecstudentactivitiess@nvcc.edu. For additional information on NOVA’s Office of Student Life, visit NOVA’s Student Life website


Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn | 703.503.6338 | kogburn@nvcc.edu



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.