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NOVA students complete prestigious internship program at Virginia Tech

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Six students from Northern Virginia Community College participated in paid internships at Virginia Tech during summer 2017 through the National Institutes of Health Bridges to the Baccalaureate Scholars Program.

The students are Tiffany Fabian and Gary Fortenberry of Manassas, Jeroko Greene of Gainesville, and Matthew Emanuel, Kareem Omeish and Muneeza Syed of Woodbridge.

“We are extremely proud of these students and pleased that they were able to benefit from this exciting opportunity,” Manassas Provost Molly Lynch said. “This program provides invaluable real world experience and I’d like to thank our partners at Virginia Tech for making the experience so special for our students.”

The Virginia Tech Bridges to the Baccalaureate Scholars Program provides research experience, skills development activities and support during a student’s undergraduate career. The program’s goal is to increase the number of Virginia Community College System students transferring to four-year institutions to pursue degrees and research paths in biomedical and behavioral sciences.

The students spent 10 weeks at Virginia Tech where they conducted research with a faculty mentor. All expenses were covered by the grant, including lodging and meals. The interns also received a $3,000 stipend.

Tiffany Fabian, 23, is pursuing an associate degree in social science and psychology. After graduating from NOVA in fall 2018, she plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders so she can work in language and speech pathology and therapy.

“I applied to the program to experience scientific research and to learn about the methods and practices used in scientific labs,” she said. “My favorite part of the summer was speaking to professors and experts in the neurosciences field and having them explain directly about specific topics I was interested in.”

Muneeza Syed, 21, graduated from NOVA in May 2017 and is currently studying both chemistry and health administration at George Mason University. She applied to the program to gain work-related experience to help determine if graduate school in her chosen field is right for her, 

“I learned a lot from this internship and feel honored to have been able to have the opportunity to work with a graduate student who is pursuing something quite similar to what I would like to do in the future,” Syed said.

She enjoyed spending time at Virginia Tech’s beautiful campus and would recommend the program to other students who are interested in pursuing careers in any biomedical science field.

Fabian says the program is a great way to learn more about scientific fields. “I think the program is a wonderful opportunity for community college students who have not had any contact with scientific research to see if this is something for them, especially for those of us who are nontraditional students,” she said.

The director of NOVA’s participation in the NIH grant, Ia Gomez, commended the students. “The application process is very competitive, making it a great accomplishment for the students who were accepted,” she said.


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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 NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.