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Meet Jenny Lopez: She Advises Students to Build Their Support Network and to Keep an Open Mind!

Jenny Lopez
Jenny Lopez

Jenny Lopez has taught at NOVA for nine years. She teaches communication studies at the Woodbridge Campus, as well as advising students and helping them to plan their course schedule and serving on college-wide committees. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies with an emphasis in organizational communication and her master’s in intercultural/interpersonal communication, both from Cal State Long Beach. Prior to coming to NOVA, she worked in retail management at stores, including Walgreens Pharmacy and Kohl’s.

“I really enjoyed working with my teams in retail, discovering ways to help store associates grow their skill set and motivating them,” she said. “But I missed the teaching environment I encountered during my graduate work.”

Instead of just changing jobs, she decided to go in a completely different direction—East!

“I decided to test my luck, and I moved to Northern Virginia where I started working as an adjunct faculty member at NOVA.”

She continues, “I am grateful to work at NOVA because of the diverse population of students we serve in the community. Each semester, I appreciate the knowledge my students share with me about their culture and life experiences.”

She says, as an educator, one of her top priorities is teaching her students about compassion by demonstrating empathy and competence in any communicative setting and strengthening their own intercultural competence.

“We live in a diverse area, and it is important to understand how to demonstrate respect when we interact with others from a different culture than our own.”

When asked what advice she would give to first-generation college students—or any students, she says— "is to build their support group. Classmates, professors, advisors, administrators–network with anyone you can reach out to for help in your classes, a study buddy; academic and career planning or just someone you can talk to when you need a resource or motivation.”

“Also, keep an open mind with your academic and career plans,” she said. “You never know where life may take you. Embrace the new and the bold, even if it may seem scary at first. We grow by taking leaps of faith rather than remaining in our comfort zone.”

Lopez says she is married to an incredible husband, and they are blessed with two energetic children (and soon, a third)! She is also parent to two beagles and a chihuahua mix pup. She says there is never a dull moment at her house. If not on the computer grading, planning or responding to e-mails, then she is outdoors with kids and dogs.

“I am also grateful to my parents—to my father who sparked in me a love for teaching (as he’s also a teacher); and my mother, who always has my back and answers my calls when I need to chat with someone. They are a part of my support group, who keep me motivated to serve my community.”

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.

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