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Lucy Williams Receives Chancellor’s Rising Star Award at VCCS’ 2022 Hire Education Conference

Lucy Williams Receives Chancellor’s Rising Star Award at VCCS’ 2022 Hire Education Conference

Lucy Williams, NOVA Workforce’s guaranteed interview program coordinator in the Office of Employer Engagement and Career Services was recently recognized by the VCCS for outstanding achievement with the Chancellor’s ‘Rising Star’ award at the 2022 “Hire Education Conference”.

Over the last 20 years, the Hire Education Conference–the VCCS’ professional development gathering of workforce leaders and practitioners–has explored the ways in which colleges respond to the needs of businesses and individuals in the Commonwealth, positioning Virginia as a national model for workforce training. This year, the conference’s focus was on how to best prepare for and serve students and employers.

The “rising star” award is given to a college-based faculty or staff member who has three or fewer years of workforce development experience and has demonstrated remarkable talent and dedication to furthering workforce development initiatives early in their career and has shown exemplary potential for future contributions to the field.

Here is a little more about Lucy and her time at NOVA as she is making a difference for students and for the region’s employers.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Fairfax County, so NOVA is home! I transferred to the University of Virginia after my freshman year at George Mason University, and I was blown away by the student leaders who facilitated my orientation and made me feel so welcome. That experience not only inspired me to become an orientation leader myself, but they also exposed me to the field of higher education administration and student affairs.

Before UVA, I had always thought I’d do something with writing (I was an art history major but strongly considered English). It soon became clear that working with people—specifically students—was where my heart was. Even so, I wanted to explore the side of me that loved communications. After working at UVA and GW, I took a leap of faith and pursued a career as a professional editor. I enjoyed it, but I was lonely, and I always envisioned myself returning to work with students. While working from home during the pandemic, I thought, “Now is the time!”

How do you feel earning the Chancellor’s Rising Star Award?
When I found out about the award, I was shocked. There are many, many people at NOVA and VCCS doing innovative things for our students every day. Career services—indeed, serving students in general—is a team effort, and this was no exception! I’m extremely humbled to have been recognized for work that means so much to me. It’s quite nice to feel that I’m where I belong professionally.

Tell us about a wonderful experience you have had working at NOVA.
Working in career services, I have a front-row seat to students working to improve their lives every day. There are so many wonderful experiences to choose from! One student told me that the program I coordinate, Guaranteed Interviews, changed her life. Hearing that was pretty remarkable.

Tell us how working with students has been impactful for you.
As an orientation leader at UVA, I felt myself come alive while working with students. I still feel that way today. Our students here at NOVA are resilient, multifaceted, talented, motivated people—and they’ve reminded me that sometimes the most impactful thing you can do for someone is to simply show up and listen.

Tell us how working with other staff members has been impactful to you.
My colleagues in career services are some of the most compassionate and helpful people I’ve ever met, seriously! I’ve always thought higher education professionals were kind, and that’s part of what drew me to the field, but the NOVA staff takes it to another level. Being surrounded by people who support you while simultaneously challenging you to do your best work is a real privilege.

Tell us about faculty members that you enjoy working with.
I work with quite a few workforce instructors, and JoAnna Collins and Jill Lassiter are among the very best. JoAnna and Jill go above and beyond for their students, not only advising and teaching but also setting them up for that next step in their career. Both have an infectious energy that I can’t help but be inspired by.


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.