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Former NOVA Students Graduate from Catholic University

CUA grads
(l to r) Ciara Young, Allan Pernot, James Freeze, Austin Neal and Romina Zevallos recently graduated from Catholic University with degrees in architecture after receiving associate degrees at NOVA. Photo courtesy of Ciara Young..

Five former Northern Virginia Community College students who completed the architecture program graduated from Catholic University (CUA) in May 2017 with degrees in architecture after getting a head start at NOVA. Allan Pernot and Ciara Young completed their coursework at the Alexandria Campus, and James Freeze, Austin Neal and Romina Zevallos completed the program at the Annandale Campus.

For Pernot, deciding to attend NOVA was an opportunity for a new start after transferring from George Mason University while he explored a different career option. Pernot took his classes at the Alexandria Campus and said receiving his associate degree from NOVA was the best way to explore his interest in architecture and design before attending CUA to continue to pursue his chosen career path. 

“NOVA did a great job preparing me for Catholic University, and all the coursework tied in very well,” Pernot said. “The class sizes were really great for me because we were like a family. I learned the information a lot quicker and established relationships with my professors and friendships with classmates.”

Pernot said starting his career in architecture at NOVA prepared him for his senior year at Catholic University, in which he won both senior design competitions for his class. He explained that NOVA’s classes were very detail-oriented and covered a lot of information that gave him an advantage once he enrolled at CUA. Pernot now works for an architectural firm in Rosslyn, Virginia, and plans to continue his education by attending graduate school.

Young said she would advise students interested in NOVA’s architecture program to know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to get ahead of the curve. Additionally, she said NOVA’s program helped prepare her for her desired career by teaching her about the technical component of design. She said it’s important for students to know that NOVA’s flexible class schedule is also helpful and allows students to have a day job, while CUA currently doesn’t offer night classes.

Harvey Liebman – Alexandria Campus assistant dean of the Math, Science and Engineering Division and head of architecture technology and drafting – explained that the associate of applied science degree in architecture at NOVA prepares students to pursue careers and further their education after completing the program, and the architectural industry provides various career options.

Every year, NOVA’s program graduates between 10 and 20 students who find work in related fields, continue their education at CUA and other higher education institutions and a few transfer to the Master of Architecture program at Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architectural Center.

“The Architecture AAS program at NOVA prepares students for future careers and further studies in the design and building construction fields by providing introductory coursework in design, construction methods, structures, historical precedents, site planning, environmental systems and graphic communications,” Liebman said. “Some major advantages of starting your architectural education at NOVA are that we provide a low-cost and easy-access means to test your interest and ability in architectural studies. In fact, the program at Alexandria holds all related classes after 4 p.m. and on Saturdays.

“The field of architecture offers careers for people with a variety of talents because it consists of technical, artistic and intellectual components.”

For additional information on NOVA’s architecture program, contact Liebman at 703.845.6530 or visit NOVA’s website.

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.