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Veteran’s Day Spotlight: Dr. LaToya Sivells – Passion Drives Her to Serve

Veteran’s Day Spotlight: Dr. LaToya Sivells – Passion Drives Her to Serve

In this year’s Veteran’s Day spotlight, the college’s own LaToya Sivells, Ed.D., shares why her work with student-veterans, active-duty military and their families drives her passion to provide the best experience for NOVA students, even after 12 years!

Dr. Sivells serves as NOVA’s Military Education Specialist in the Office of Military and Veteran Services, a position she’s been in since 2010. In this vital role, she supports NOVA’S military-related students that are using the G.I. Bill. Also, she provides military transcript analysis, evaluating military experience and training for college credit.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a military brat born in Norfolk, Va. and have lived all across the state and near D.C.’s Bolling Air Force Base (now called Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling).

I graduated from Hampton University with a degree in English and got my master’s and doctorate with a focus on education from Liberty University. Also, I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Since 2010, I have worked at NOVA, and I also work for the Opulence Group, a public relations firm.

I am the current president of the Virginia Advisory Council on Military Education (VA-ACME) and the awards chair for the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME). In my state-wide role, I help evaluate and restructure policies related to accepting and transferring credit for veterans, military students and their adult family members.

In my spare time, I enjoy the Real Housewives shows, Married to Medicine and sports.

Tell us about a wonderful experience you have had working at NOVA.
I work with some of the best people on the planet in my department. I say that because every single person has a passion for the veteran and military population. I have been at NOVA for 12 years and have seen so many people come and go, but I have enjoyed all the staff. 

This department is filled with some of the nicest, most student-oriented folks here. It has been an honor working with them.

Tell us how working with students has been impactful for you.
It has impacted me because it always makes me want to do better. Meeting students over the last 12 years and hearing their stories makes my heart warm.  

A lot of students I work with work full time and balance a family and school. I have students who are now deployed and are taking classes online. Hearing their stories of perseverance makes me a better person. 

Due to my students, I love what I do. I know I am helping them reach a goal. It keeps me humble. When I am having a bad day, I am thinking of the student who is calling me late at night, deployed overseas and trying to finish their degree. 

Tell us how working with other staff members has been impactful to you.
I can say even outside of my division, in working with a college dean or a Provost, NOVA as a whole is one of the most military-friendly institutions.  

We always reach out beyond our office to help a student–whether it’s the business office, registrar’s office, no matter which office it is, whether an advisor or a counselor, they are so accommodating to our students. It has been a pleasure working at NOVA. When I reach out to a department, so many are willing to come find a solution.

Please let us know some faculty members that you enjoy working with.
I enjoy working with Cynthia Pascal of NOVA Online; Nikki Neal, the Annandale Campus registrar and Jennifer Karpel in the third-party billing office. I always enjoy working with my supervisor, Dr. McMiller and the entire Office of Military and Veteran Services staff. I also enjoyed working with Margie Wildblood, the military counselor at Annandale, who has now retired.

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 75,000 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.

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