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Smithsonian Student Intern, Axel Concha-Lopez Talks About Career Pathways at NOVA

Smithsonian Student Intern, Axel Concha-Lopez Talks About Career Pathways at NOVA

NOVA’s Student Internship Month Spotlight is Axel Concha-Lopez who just landed the prestigious summer position at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He hopes to leverage this amazing position for a future career in marketing and entrepreneurism.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:

My name is Axel Concha-Lopez, I am 19 years old and the first born of my parents who immigrated from Peru. I like all things cars, business and meeting new people. In the friend group I am on the wilder side, always down for a road trip or going skydiving, but when it comes down to school and work, I am very goal oriented.

What brought you to NOVA?

To be completely honest, NOVA was my backup school. I was finishing up High School in possibly the craziest year ever of 2020. I was ready to pack up and continue my education at JMU, but I was hesitant, and decided to stay at home. In the process, my family and I saved thousands of dollars and I got to meet other great students and professors

What are you studying or do you plan to study at NOVA?

I am currently studying to obtain my bachelor’s in business administration, and I plan to finish at GMU.

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA, i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met.

I wanted to meet my professors, and the majority of the courses I took were in person. I wanted to meet other business students, so I attended business events here at the college. In the end I have made a great connection with Dr. Melvin Murphy, who has taught me a lot about business, more specifically communications, and how to brand myself.

On the fun side, I met some great people at the Annandale campus’ CF building where I got a chance to shred some air hockey or play a little soccer.

Why did you decide to complete an internship while at NOVA?

I decided to start an internship through NOVA because I wanted to get ahead and start narrowing down my future career. I’m excited to have been accepted to intern with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art where I will be working on their marketing with their event management leaders. I had heard about the competitive internship for the Smithsonian through NOVA Workforce. I then decided I wanted to apply to gain real work experience and future connections

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?

Don’t waste your time thinking it’s just a community college and that it has nothing to offer you. Meet your classmates, make connections with your professors because NOVA is a hidden gem. Whether you decide to take it to your advantage is up to you.

What is your favorite career resource you’ve used while at NOVA?

I found out about Career Connections through NOVA Workforce. This was the place where I found all the information about the Smithsonian internship and many more. The site also uploads weekly webinars and available jobs in the area.

What are you looking forward to most when completing your internship?

After my internship, I hope to have gained not only a great experience at the Smithsonian, but also friends and professional connections. I also hope to gain an understanding of art through culture and its power on people as well as society over time.

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring?

My hope for my future career pursuits are to merge my passion for business and cars. I plan to be in marketing for professional racing endeavors like Formula 1, or possibly even starting my own business. Right now, although I may be somewhat unsure, I have no doubt that with time and my efforts it will become clearer.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.