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Three Northern Virginia Community College Students Awarded Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Community College Transfer Scholarship


Lansdowne, VA (April 24, 2020) – Faiz Adem, Judith Obregon, and Reham Elsayed of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) were among the 50 recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s prestigious Community College Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship will provide these three NOVA students with up to $40,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Faiz Adem believes that “when you do things sincerely, you always get good things back.”  A student government association president at NOVA’s Alexandria campus, he is an engaged student leader who spends most of his time away from the classroom volunteering to help others. Originally from Ethiopia, he wants to work in the non-profit sector after an initial career in business. He is interested in helping low income communities around the globe find access to technological resources. Adem has applied to and plans on going to New York University, Georgetown, Cornell, Brown or Harvard. 

Judith Obregon, who couldn’t initially finish her education in her home country of Peru due the impact of domestic terrorism groups, has kept her family’s optimism for a better future.  She had previously worked in the ministry of education in Peru, and then came to NOVA to pursue courses in business and information technology.  Judith has applied to and plans on continuing her educational journey to Cornell, Georgetown or Virginia Tech.  After graduating with her four-year degree, she wants to work in the international development sector to reduce global poverty.   

Reham Elsayed, an excited scholarship recipient who is planning on going to University of Virginia for a degree in biology, has a longer term goal of going to medical school to study psychiatry.  She really enjoyed learning about psychology at NOVA and is fascinated with the intricacies of the human mind.  Her time growing up in Egypt has influenced her interest in helping children in countries that have been politically unstable. Reham plans to merge these aspects of her life: as a psychiatrist, she wants to work on addressing global post-war traumas and helping to heal communities. 

“I am so deeply proud of these three NOVA students, and their commitment to academic success in the face of great challenge is especially meaningful at this moment,” said Dr. Anne Kress, president of NOVA.  “That Faiz, Judith, and Reham are dedicated to helping others is incredibly affirming and speaks to the remarkable qualities that led to their recognition. They are truly extraordinary scholars, and I am grateful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for supporting their bright futures.”

In addition to financial support, new Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising from the JKC Foundation to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of over 2,700 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni.

“We know this is a very uncertain time for many students and their families. We remain deeply committed to supporting high-achieving community college students to ensure they have the resources to reach their full academic potential,” said Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We are excited to welcome this new class of Cooke Transfer Scholars to our community and are looking forward to seeing the many amazing things they do as they continue on their transfer journey.”

Nearly 1,500 students from 311 community colleges applied for the 2020 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, leadership, and service to others. The recipients selected represent 17 different states and plan to enroll at the nation’s most selective colleges. Of Virginia’s 25 JKCF semi-finalists, 22 were NOVA students among which were NOVA’s three finalists.

A list of the 2020 Cooke Transfer Scholars, including the community colleges and states they represent, can be found here.

Learn more about the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship here or sign up to receive an email alert when the application opens again this fall. 


Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Media Contact: Jenna Schuette Talbot




NOVA Media Contact:  Hoang Nguyen



Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.