Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:


Mom to Graduate Alongside Daughters After Putting Family First

Alt Text

Mildred Waller always remembered what her mother said: "It is never too late to accomplish your goals. It's only too late if you never try." For Mildred, her babies and family always came first, and that's the way it was for her mother. As a few decades rolled by while raising her family, Mildred saw any dreams of going to school fading into the background. But her mother would be very proud of Mildred for turning things around in a big way!

Now that Mildred's children are older and less dependent on her, she's on her way to fulfilling her dream, and along the way, she is helping others! One of Mildred’s missions was to start a grocery delivery program at NOVA for parenting students. With the idea of making that program happen, she took a job with NOVA’s CCAMPIS program in February 2022. CCAMPIS is a federally funded program that helps parenting students with resources such as food assistance, book and laptop rentals and childcare expenses.

Next, she teamed up with Grace Brown from Capital Area Food Bank. Together, the women launched the grocery delivery program at the Annandale Campus last summer and at the Alexandria Campus in the fall. She calls the food service program a great collaboration between CCAMPIS at NOVA and the Capital Area Food Bank. It’s important for Mildred to help these students. She knows their daily struggles because she's a parenting student at NOVA too. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background:

I met my husband at the tender age of 18, and we married and raised a family. Our five children are close in age and required all my time and attention. There was no time for school for me.

For the past 13 years, I have been doing Family Home Daycare for the Fairfax County Office for Children. That's how I first met Professor Bernice Mayfield while taking training sessions for Fairfax. Then she became my professor. I might have never enrolled in NOVA if it wasn't for her encouragement. But now I am a proud NOVA student!

I have to say my mother is my role model. She graduated college at 55 and used her culinary arts and business degrees to fulfill her dream of opening a soul food restaurant. Although my mother won't be here to see some of my dreams come to fruition, I know she is watching!

Graduation on May 15, 2023, will be a huge blessing for my family. I will walk across the stage with my two daughters, Bobbie Waller and Rayshaia Waller. What a great tribute this will be to my mother! 

What brought you to NOVA?

Once my children got older, it felt like the right time to pursue my college degree. The opportunity to do classes online and virtually made it possible for me to continue to work and fulfill my dream!

What are you studying at NOVA?

Early Childhood Development and Psychology.

During COVID, I lost my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law in a two-month period. That was too much for my children, and they became very depressed. As I painfully watched my children go through this traumatic period, I realized this was happening to other children, too.

COVID-19 has shined a light on the mental health needs of our adolescents as they suffer in silence. It pointed me in the direction of not only Early Childhood Development but Psychology as well.

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA, i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met.

As a parenting student, I know the roadblocks and challenges we face. But the professors at NOVA are human; they're compassionate and understand life situations.

Professor Mayfield is a major influence on my life. She guided and directed me to join the right organizations that would enhance my knowledge and give me the ability to succeed. It proves that anything is possible with the proper guidance and encouragement.

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?

NOVA is a foundation of support. The courses are full of pertinent information, and the professors are very knowledgeable. The professors and other staff members at NOVA get it, and they are on your side with the same goals to ensure you succeed. I am living proof that it is never too late.

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring? 

I will transfer to James Madison University to complete my education working towards my Ph.D. in PsychologyAfter my Ph.D., I plan to work with adolescents in mental health.

For more on CCAMPIS click the link: CCAMPIS: Supporting Parenting Students - Northern Virginia Community College (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.