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Heather Kirkpatrick named New Century Scholar

Heather Kirkpatrick of Woodbridge has been named the 2012 New Century Scholar for Virginia. Kirkpatrick is a student at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

The award goes to 50 community college students from the United States, Canada and Guam. Each scholar will receive a $2,000 scholarship and a plaque. In addition, they will be recognized in the April 23 edition of USA TODAY. 

“I am humbled by this honor and will always treasure it,” Kirkpatrick said. “This award makes all the sleepless nights and hard work more than worthwhile.”

Kirkpatrick was young when she graduated high school and didn’t feel ready for a four-year college.

“Starting at NOVA was the smartest decision I have ever made,” she said. “NOVA gave me a second chance, one that has allowed me to completely transform into a motivated, well-rounded and educated individual. My time at NOVA has been wonderful and has prepared me for the next chapter in my life. I can’t wait!”

Kirkpatrick will graduate this spring and will introduce the keynote speaker during NOVA’s Commencement ceremony. This fall, she plans to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to study sculpture and extended media.

“Heather is a fine representative of NOVA’s student body,” President Robert G. Templin Jr. said. “She took advantage of the opportunities at NOVA and really found herself through academics and student activities. On behalf of everyone at the College, I wish her the very best as she takes the next steps toward a bright future.”

Woodbridge Provost Sam Hill added his congratulations. “Heather is a highly engaged and motivated student and we are delighted to see her receive this recognition,” he said.

More than 1,700 students were nominated from more than 800 community colleges. Judges consider grades, leadership, activities and how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. New Century Scholars are the highest scoring students in each state, plus one student from Canada and one student from the seven sovereign nations where Phi Theta Kappa is represented internationally.

The New Century Scholars Program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa and American Association of Community Colleges.

“We appreciate the support of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and the Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize the outstanding academic achievement and leadership accomplishments of these outstanding community college students,” said Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Rod Risley. “These scholarships provided by organizations like Coca-Cola make the goal of college completion possible, especially during these challenging economic times.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1,280 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in the United States, Canada, Germany, Peru, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, British Virgin Islands, United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.

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.