When Ibrahim Bah started attending classes at Northern Virginia Community College, he already had a bachelor’s degree in computer science from a university in his home country of Sierra Leone under his belt. His original plan was to earn a degree in information technology at NOVA. But after taking his first cybersecurity class, Ibrahim found a new passion.
“I met Professor [Margaret] Leary and started learning more about cybersecurity and about these new cyberattacks,” Ibrahim said. “I became more interested in studying cybersecurity and working in the cyber field in the future.”
Ibrahim is one of three students Dr. Margaret Leary introduced to board members in a recent NVCC Educational Foundation meeting hosted by the Alexandria Campus. With advisement from Leary and other professors, Ibrahim’s interest in cybersecurity continues to grow. Upon receiving his associate degree in cybersecurity in December 2017, he plans to transfer to Marymount University to earn a master’s degree.
Ibrahim, who says he found a new interest within technology while attending NOVA, said he is grateful for NOVA professors because their life experiences in their individual careers were a huge influence in his hands-on and real-life educational experience at NOVA.
“One thing I would point out about NOVA is the staff. They do a great job hiring staff and professors,” Ibrahim said. “They have staff that have life experiences and careers that improve the curriculum.”
Ibrahim’s experience at NOVA has been an enlightening one that has set him on a new career path. He said he is prepared for his next endeavors at Marymount and would recommend NOVA to people because he has had such a great experience here as an adult returning to education.
“I would recommend NOVA to anyone, because it’s a great college, especially for people who are already in the workforce who are maybe 28 and older,” he said.
Along with Ibrahim, Leary and the Foundation Board welcomed students Roncs Etame and Seada Mohammed during their recent meeting. Leary – who was named 2017 Outstanding Faculty of the Year by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) – is currently the Edward H. and Marilynn D. Bersoff Endowed Chair for Computer and Information Sciences. In the past, the Bersoffs invested a monetary gift in NOVA.
The NVCC Educational Foundation, Inc. raises private financial support to augment programs and existing services to attract funds to develop new courses and programs at NOVA. Funds are used to provide various types of support including scholarships, faculty development, program support and capital needs. The Foundation supports more than 500 scholarships and a range of academic programs throughout the College's six campuses and Extended Learning Institute.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.