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International Student Nurtures Love of Computers and Soccer at NOVA

Oscar playing soccer

We can confidently say that luck runs in the family of second-year Northern Virginia Community College student Oscar Ikundi. A few years ago, his sister won the lottery in their homeland of Cameroon. A year later, his father also won the lottery. With the means to travel, Ikundi and his father moved to the U.S. for more opportunities.

“I was originally supposed to go to England because my sisters both lived there. But the year before my dad won the lottery, my sister also won the lottery,” Oscar said. “One of my sisters moved from England to the States. When my dad won, it just made it easier to come.”

Oscar completed high school in Africa before his family moved to the States, so he was looking for the opportunity to go to college to continue to build his interest and skills in computers. He also wanted the opportunity to play soccer – a sport that has always been a part of who he is. However, by the time they were settled in Alexandria, deadlines for college applications had come and gone.

Oscar’s sister, a former NOVA student, advised him to consider NOVA where she told him he would get a good start and professors taught in a way students can understand the material. The only other component Oscar was looking for was soccer, and he found NOVA was able to give him that opportunity as well. Oscar also quickly found a community of friends at NOVA Alexandria which he said also makes a big impact on his college experience.

“When I came, this area didn’t really have a lot of soccer teams, so I could only find games at schools. I couldn’t get into Division II teams because I would have to be a part of their schools. I decided to start at NOVA to see if I can work my way up,” he said. “I also really like the teachers at NOVA. For most of the classes I’ve taken, the teachers have always made sure students understand the material they’re teaching. I enjoy the students here too because they’re so friendly. It was so easy to make friends here, and there are different spaces on campus where you can meet and get to know other students.”

Through NOVA, Oscar is taking every step to make his dreams a reality. When he was looking for work, he went directly to the Provost’s Office where he is now a work study student for the provost’s staff. He’s also building his skills in information technology in hopes of one day becoming a cybersecurity specialist for the government.

As captain of NOVA’s men’s soccer team, Oscar is led by Head Coach Thomas Connolly and Assistant Coaches Marleyna Mendoza and Roberto Rivera-Greenwood. So far this season, the team has an 10-2 record and Oscar plans to take advantage of a good season by preparing for his future endeavors.

“Right now, my dad is coming to some of my games to get videos of me. I’m also going to see if I could record some other videos while training by myself,” Oscar said. “I will send out the videos to coaches and try to find different scholarships.”

On top of eventually working in the cybersecurity field, Oscar also has a goal of becoming a professional soccer player, and he said NOVA is just a wonderful beginning in his journey to greatness.


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.