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2010 NOVA Alum Arthur Tamayo Addresses  2023 SEAL Awards as Keynote 

2010 NOVA Alum Arthur Tamayo Addresses  2023 SEAL Awards as Keynote 

Arthur Tamayo provided the keynote address for the 2023 NOVA SEAL Awards. Among the most prestigious student award given by the College, SEAL awards are giving to students who exhibit exemplary Service, Engagement, Academics and Leadership. Tamayo addressed the ceremony and told students and attendees about his fond memories at NOVA and how community college served as a launching pad for success. 

Tamayo currently serves as CEO and co-founder of Arillic, a federal contractor located in Fairfax. Arillic is a mission-driven federal marketing and visual media contractor that aims to improve strategic outreach and digital transformation for organizations seeking to expand their brand’s reach - especially in underserved and rural communities. For over six years, Arillic has served commercial and federal clients like Amazon Web Services, the National Parks Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Apart from focusing on growing his company, he continues to advocate for more small business engagement within government contracting and serves as a principal advisor to other companies seeking to grow.  

Hosted by the Office of Student Life, the SEAL Award banquet recognizes NOVA’s outstanding student leaders across NOVA’s six campuses. Their contributions include community service involvement, college club or organizational participation, outstanding academic achievement and campus or community leadership. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background: 
I graduated from NOVA in 2010 and was able to transfer to Virginia Tech and study urban planning. After graduating with my bachelor’s, I ended up working in a diverse array of companies, ranging from one of the largest global development firms, to public entities such as the city of Long Beach, and even a local start up. I didn’t really connect with the work culture even though the work that I was doing was in line with what I studied. I wanted to build something that can make an impact and the change I wanted to see for myself and for those that my company would come to serve.  

One of my best friends from college and I made a pact that we would help each other with our future business endeavors. We met through the community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. We started Arillic in 2016 in the hopes of making an impact, both as a forward-thinking strategic communications company that embodies the best in industry practices, as well as the lean efficiency and innovation a millennial-led company can bring to the table. Soon after, we began our path down the federal contracting road, and we have grown our service offerings to match the level of offering the federal government is looking for.  

We are currently seeking to grow and expand our team and would love to see NOVA graduates reach out to us and apply for the roles we have.  

What brought you to NOVA? 
I went to school locally and always knew about NOVA. I was already in touch with the guidance counselors at my high school and, while they were helpful, I was still unsure as to what path to set out on academically and professionally. At the time, my sister just graduated with a mountain of debt, and that didn’t seem like something I wanted to incur at such a young age. This has come to be one of the best financial decisions I have ever made. Going to NOVA was an investment that allowed me the time and the low financial entry point to begin my college career.  

I always knew I wanted to continue my education and that NOVA was always a great choice to put one foot over the other toward finding out more about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take my career.  

What did you study at NOVA? 
I earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and graduated with honors in 2010. During my time at NOVA, I took as many classes, both core and extracurricular, as my time allowed.  

I was an SGA president and a member of many clubs. I founded a community service chapter of Circle K while I was there as well. 

Being at NOVA during this time was the first time I juggled a full-time job and going to school full time. I worked full time during my time at NOVA. I would take classes in the morning, mid-day, midnight. I was able to help pay for and support my studies at Virginia Tech.  

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA, i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met.  
The people I met at NOVA gave me a great appreciation for the wide spectrum and diversity of people who are seeking to advance themselves academically, professionally and more.  
A healthy student activities department helped provide a great supplement to the education at NOVA. I cannot stress the importance of expanding the role and impact student activities has on campus. Matthew “Tank” McCarl was the student activities coordinator at the time and without him I can say my experience at NOVA would have been much less exciting and fun. Thank you, Matt.  
Lastly, one of my guidance counselors at the time who helped me graduate NOVA and navigate the transfer process was Dr. Richmond Hill, who now serves as provost of the Woodbridge Campus. He really understood what I was trying to do and where I was trying to go. He was extraordinarily helpful. He was my counselor then and has continued to be a good friend to this day. Thank you, Dr. Hill. 

What  would  you  tell  a student coming to NOVA? 
We live in an extraordinary time of high skill attainment and high cost of, well, everything. You do not need to know exactly where you want to go to college or what you want to study and become. Sometimes investing in something that can buy you more time to “figure it out” is the best thing to do. That’s just from my experience, but otherwise the best thing to do is start conversations with people early and often that you can learn from or those in fields you want to grow into.  

I believe that you can do more in two years at NOVA with regard to finding a job, attaining skills and getting into an industry you want to be in, than you could in doing your first two years at a four-year institution.   

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.