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Virginia Community College Experiential Learning Conference Draws Incredible Talent from Across the Commonwealth 

Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus hosted an inaugural Virginia Community College Experiential Conference on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at the Long Nguyen and Kimmy Doung Theater, located in the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at 8333 Little Turnpike Road, Annandale, VA, 22003. The event featured an innovative keynote address from Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University, introduced by Dr. Dianne Mucci, Provost of the Annandale Campus.  

This event allowed students across the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to gather in a hybrid fashion for a transformative experience of student-produced projects and collaborative presentations conducted by faculty/staff and students. The experiential learning projects presented focused on themes related to study abroad, undergraduate research, service learning, internships, apprenticeships, and leadership. These themes help students to apply their learning to different environments. Students across the region came to further learn career pathways to build their resume while getting practical, hands-on experience.  

As the keynote, Dr. Frederick reviewed for audiences experiential learning, the experience at Howard University and how to enhance this type of learning and what it means for students. “Those experiences can be very very instructive. When I encounter a student, I ask them about their mission. When you talk to students about their mission, you realize how much of that mission has to be fulfilled outside of the classroom.” 

“We often think of experiential learning in a formal setting, but when you cross our campus and you run into a student from Ghana and you hear them speak in their native tongue, you have just experienced experiential learning. That is an experience, and that is why we want students to be interacting with one another. The practical definition is trying to ensure and apply what is learned in the classroom into other environments, but it takes on other roles on where it can be learned and by whom,” contained Frederick.  

From courses like ‘Undergraduate Research Opportunities’, to a ‘Federal Agency Internships Panel’, or ‘Field Work in Early Childhood Education’ – this conference offered a range of opportunities for engagement.  

“We are grateful for all the support in making the Virginia Community College Experiential Learning Conference a point of pride for the Commonwealth—one that highlights and celebrates our students’ innovative achievements,” said Dr. Eun-Woo Chang, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at NOVA. “ 

This event was made possible by sponsorships from four-year and industry partners such as; Colonial Scientific, Emory & Henry College, George Mason University, Marymount University, Norfolk University, Old Dominion University, the Online Virginia Network, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College and Virginia Tech. The conference will be held at Bright Point Community College next year, and will continue to tour the rest of the VCCS institutions in the Commonwealth.  

For more questions about the experiential experience for VCCS, please contact Dr. Holly Whistler, coordinator for the Online Virginia Network at hwhistler@nvcc.edu. For media inquiries regarding NOVA, please contact Hoang Nguyen, associate director of external communications at hdnguyen@nvcc.edu 

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.