The Honorable Elizabeth R. Guzman, elected to represent Virginia's 31st House of Delegates, will deliver the commencement address for Northern Virginia Community College’s Spring 2018 Commencement. A NOVA alumna, Guzman is the first Hispanic female immigrant in the Virginia Assembly. NOVA’s 52nd Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 12 at 2 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Dr., Bristow, Va. As a reflection of the College’s celebratory theme, “Believe, Aspire and Achieve,” Guzman’s inspirational story correlates with NOVA being among the most effective institutions in the nation to transition students from the lowest socio-economic levels to the highest, within ten years of graduating.
Last November Guzman made history, unseating an eight-term incumbent to win her seat to become one of the first two Latinas to ever be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. On Jan. 30, she offered the Spanish-language Democratic response to the 2018 State of the Union Address delivered by President Donald Trump. Guzman’s message advocated for sensible immigration policies.
Guzman grew up in the port town of Callao, Peru. In high school, she discovered an interest in politics and became president of her class. Although Guzman was a scholar student, her family didn’t have enough money to send her to college. At 18, she had a daughter and became a single mom. In 1998, she decided to relocate to northern Virginia, where she worked three jobs; at Wendy’s, CVS and as a cashier at a department store to support her family.
Eventually Guzman found a job as a receptionist at a local office and continued her education. She enrolled at NOVA and obtained an associate degree in Office Administration and Management. She then pursued a Bachelor’s online, in Public Safety from Capella University, a Master's in Public Administration from American University and then a Master's in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Since 2015, Guzman works as the Division Chief for the City of Alexandria’s Center for Adult Services.
After becoming a U.S. citizen in 2005, Guzman took an interest in exploring candidate positions and found success in her first campaign for office. She and her husband have four children and live in Virginia.
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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.