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Local high school students gain college experience through NOVA’s Pathway Connection Summer Institute

2017 Pathway Connection Summer Institute
2017 Pathway Connection Summer Institute
High school students learn physical therapy techniques
High school students learn physical therapy techniques with MEC Instructor/Trainer Erica Raggio.
phlebotomy lab
Participants learn about phlebotomy at the Pathway Connection Summer Institute.

A total of 30 rising 11th and 12th grade students from Fairfax County and Arlington County public schools attended the fifth annual Pathway Connection Summer Institute on June 27 and 28 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale and Medical Education Campuses.

Pathway Connection is a college/career readiness program for high school sophomores and juniors in selected high schools in Fairfax and Arlington counties. Participating high schools included Annandale, Edison, Falls Church, Hayfield, J.E.B Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Mount Vernon, South Lakes, Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown. The program’s goal is to reduce the need for remedial coursework amongst at-risk students enrolling in college, by helping to improve college readiness. Pathway Connection is a companion program to the existing Pathway to the Baccalaureate program. 

For the first time, the Summer Institute enhanced the education-span for students by introducing them to two components, “the college experience” and “the career experience” associated with this year’s overall theme, “A Taste of College.”  On day one, also referred to as the “college experience,” students visited the Annandale Campus to engage with NOVA students in various stages of their collegiate experience. Ten individuals, including first-year NOVA students, NOVA alumni, transfer students and four-year university graduates offered advice to the high schoolers and also shared their personal experiences. Workshops on financial literacy, interpersonal communication, technology in a college environment and college essay-writing were also provided by Pathway Connection staff members and NOVA faculty.  

On day two, “the career experience,” students explored careers in the healthcare profession at the Medical Education Campus (MEC). Each Pathway Connection participant had round-table discussions and live demonstrations with MEC faculty to learn about careers in nursing, phlebotomy, dental assisting, radiography, diagnostic medical sonography, occupational therapy, emergency medical services and public health research. Eight local career panelist, from various fields, held a question and answer segment for students to inquire about their professional backgrounds.

“About 80 percent of our students in the Pathway Connection program have expressed an interest in allied health as well as STEM related careers (science, technology, engineering and math). Because of this, we wanted to offer something different this year for our students attending our Summer Institute by adding a full-day at the Medical Education Campus,” said Shannon Ingram, Pathway Connection associate director of college readiness and outreach. “Students who are exposed to these specific opportunities are more prone to be college ready and there are several studies that support this effort. We have approximately 1,000 participating students involved with our program and we want to ensure that each student reaches their fullest potential.”

For additional information on Pathway Connection and participant eligibility, visit their 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.