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NOVA Alumni Studying Mining Engineering at Penn State with Hopes to Make a Difference in His Home Country

Kevin Toe
NOVA alumnus Kevin Toe recently visited the Annandale Campus where he spoke with Dr. Joann Credle (right) and Annandale Provost Pam Hilbert (left).

Kevin Toe always wanted to be an engineer. He has known that since graduating high school, but he wasn’t always sure what type of engineering he wanted to pursue. With the resources and opportunities at NOVA, Kevin was able to figure out exactly what he wanted to do in the engineering field and map out his next steps, which include Pennsylvania State University and possibly returning to his home country Burkina Faso, West Africa to help improve mining extraction laws. 

Kevin explained that he considered a number of factors before deciding to attend NOVA. The student to professor ratio and affordable tuition topped the list of reasons why NOVA was the best fit. It also helped that the Annandale Campus wasn’t too far from where he lived.

“I decided to attend NOVA because of the large variety of programs they offer. After enrolling in general engineering at NOVA, I had the chance to explore more and I was given the necessary tools I would need upon graduation to pursue any type of engineering,” he said. “Other factors that influenced my choice were the relatively affordable tuition rate, the proximity of the campus to my apartment, the low student to professor ratio and the expertise of the professors and their willingness to assist any student who may have a hard time understanding the material.”

Because of his experience at NOVA, Kevin said he was able to expand outside of his comfort zone which will be helpful in his future career. He encourages potential NOVA international students to do the same by talking to different people to speed up the English learning process, and always seek help when needed because “you’re not the only one in this situation.”

He also advises students to have fun and enjoy the experience at NOVA by networking and getting involved on campus. 

“Never stop making friends and broadening your network,” he said. “Get involved, join a club or a student organization. Participate in activities that Student Life organizes exclusively for students.” 

Kevin graduated from NOVA with an Associate of Science degree in engineering in December 2016 and has narrowed down his specific field of engineering. He is now studying mining engineering at Penn State University where he has been inspired to learn more about mining and how he can use his education to positively affect Burkina Faso, West Africa. 

So far, he has learned that every American born will need more than 3 million pounds of minerals, metals and fuels in his/her lifetime (according to the Mineral Information Institute). Kevin said he was impressed by this information and has become interested in minerals and developing a safe and healthy extraction process. 

“My plan after completing my studies is to work in a mine, preferably a diamond mine, for a few years to get a sense of what it takes to recover precious metal, and then join an agency to participate in the development of new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and put it into practice,” he said. “I also envisage working in my home country of Burkina Faso to help develop better extractive laws and regulations and open an agency with the main purpose of enforcing those laws.”


Media Contact: Raytevia Evans | 703.425.5839 | revans@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.