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NOVA Police Officer, Dwayne Parris Talks of Finishing His Degree While Working at NOVA

Dwane Paris helping out at the Annandale campus Starbucks cafe

Dwayne Parris is no stranger to the community here at NOVA. He can be seen policing at events, making new friends while helping at the NOVA café and sitting in classes finishing up his two degrees. After many years in law enforcement, Dwayne now works at NOVA and loves the rich diversity and ability to catch up with students along their educational journey.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am a father of four, I have two boys and two girls. I love spending time with my kids and working on cars when I am not at NOVA. I am a boring person in my eyes because most of my time is at work or going into Baltimore to spend time with my children.

I have been in the law enforcement occupation for approximately 23 years. I started in Baltimore City and then worked for the state of Maryland before finally ending up here at NOVA as a part of the college police unit. Since working at NOVA, I have obtained two associate degrees, with one being in general studies and the other in justice administration.

Tell us a story about a wonderful experience you have had here working at NOVA?

Coming here to work at NOVA gave me an opportunity to be exposed to such rich diversity in the region. Growing up in the inner city of Baltimore, one can get used to a certain culture and group of people, so coming to NOVA has given me the opportunity to see even more people from all different backgrounds, cultures and religions I was not exposed to before. I have come to meet a lot of great people while working here. I have also worked a lot of events in the area that deal with cultural activities such as Indian Dances, plays, orchestral performances, etc.

Tell us how working with students has been impactful for you?

I enjoy working with students here because it gives me an opportunity to see what’s new in this generation’s concept of life. It gives me the opportunity of utilizing the teaching of the old ways from how I was raised and then apply it to help others along the way, while learning the new lifestyle or the norms of today.

I meet a lot of students that I also get to converse with and really get to know them. Generally, since I am in the bookstore often, either catching up with colleagues or helping at the café, students recognize me. I am able to talk with many students, which gives me insight into their different religious and cultural backgrounds. In some exchanges with students, I am incredibly impressed when I hear about what some have gone through to just to get to the United States or to become domiciled in the state of Virginia.

Tell us how working with other staff members has been impactful to you?

Working with fellow NOVA staff members has given me a great deal of familial belonging. Many staff members welcomed me and treated me as one of their own, which I am truly blessed and thankful for.

Please let us know some staff and faculty members that you enjoy working with

First, the NOVA Police Department for accepting me and allowing me to use my previous experience in law Enforcement to assist at NOVA. Secondly, the Barnes & Noble bookstore managers, Michelle Arvelo and Michelle Rundblade who have given me so much. I learned how to make coffee, help with inventory and shipment. You name it. So special thanks to them.

I want to thank Ms. Sharon Tindall for accepting me into her family and becoming one of her favorite officers. She truly has helped our police department immensely. Danny from the testing center who became a great friend and brother to me. Oh wow, I have to shorten this speech because there are so many people! Definitely, I want to give a big shout out to the entire Student Services center for helping me reach my goal in getting my degrees and for just being so helpful and gracious to me.

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.