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Amanda Harbison named New Century Scholar for Virginia

Amanda HarbisonAmanda Harbison, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, is one of 51 community college students from the United States, Canada and American Samoa who have been named 2014 New Century Scholars. Each scholar will receive a $2,000 scholarship and be recognized at the American Association of Community Colleges Convention in April in Washington, D.C.

“I am humbled and greatly honored to have been chosen as a recipient of this scholarship award, and I will honor this generosity through my continued academic endeavors,” Harbison said.

“Everyone at NOVA joins me in congratulating Amanda on earning this national honor,” said NOVA President Robert G. Templin Jr. “She is an excellent representative of our student body and we know she will continue to excel in her academic and professional careers.”

Harbison was 2011 valedictorian at Falls Church High School, where she completed a year of college-level English through dual enrollment with NOVA. She had her choice of many colleges and decided NOVA was a perfect fit.

“Overall, the freedom a community college offers is what attracted me,” Harbison said. “I decided to attend NOVA because of its location, programs of study and flexible class times. I value the smaller classroom sizes because they create a more conducive learning environment. My decision turned out to be the best I have ever made because I gained direction in my future career.”

Harbison is studying biotechnology at NOVA’s Manassas Campus where she is actively involved in student life. Her membership in the Biotechnology Club gives her many opportunities to share her passion for the field such as serving as a summer camp leader for fourth graders and leading an open house to encourage middle and high school students to pursue careers in biotechnology.

“Amanda is an outstanding student who used her time at NOVA to great advantage. We are delighted she received this prestigious award and we wish her all the best in the future,” Manassas Provost Roger Ramsammy said.

The 21-year-old Harbison lives in Annandale with her parents, Mary Ann Bush and Michael Harbison, and her sister, Lorraine. She plans to transfer to George Washington University or Virginia Tech after graduating from NOVA this summer.

“My long-term career goal is to work in the field of bioremediation where I can help the environment,” she said. “I have grown interested in a number of research areas, particularly nanotechnology, environmental biology and neurogenetics.”

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

The New Century Scholars program shares a common application with the All-USA Community College Academic Team, which is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group and presented by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa. Together, the two programs recognize outstanding community college students. More than 1,700 students were nominated from more than 900 community colleges. Judges consider grades, leadership, activities and, most importantly, 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 additional student chosen from among one of the remaining seven sovereign nations where Phi Theta Kappa is represented internationally.

“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 Honor Society is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in the United States, Canada, Germany, Peru, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly 3 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.