Appreciating Diversity During the Holidays

by Simma Lieberman

Guess who’s not celebrating Christmas this year? Millions of people in the United States.

That’s right. Tens of millions of Americans don’t celebrate Christmas religiously, either as followers of non-Christian religions (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews) or as individuals with no religious affiliation.

Because many stores tap into the cash value of Christmas with their plethora of Santas, ornaments, and Christmas fanfare at your nearby mall, we can easily overlook the depth of the diversity present in America during this season. In reality, many different events, both spiritual, religious, and tradition based, are being celebrated in many different ways during these times.

3 Ways to Build Your Awareness of Diversity and Create an Inclusive Holiday Environment

  1. Learn about other religious or holiday celebrations. Carve out some time from online shopping or a holiday TV show to learn about another culture‘s celebrations during this time. Watch a TV special about other celebrations, do a Google search on a holiday, or check out books at your local bookstore while gift shopping. Share your learning with others, and use it as a chance to expand the conversation at parties and at the dinner table.
  2. Make no expectations about other religious or holiday celebrations. Realize that people celebrate a variety of holidays during this time of year, and some people choose to celebrate none. Be respectful of these differences by taking interest in other people’s traditions and making them feel welcome. Don’t be afraid to ask people what holidays they celebrate. Find out what they do during this time of the year that is special. Let it be an opportunity to learn about different cultures and religions and the traditions that accompany them.
  3. Mark your calendar and your address book with other scheduled religious or holiday celebrations. If the calendar you use does not list holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, and Diwali, find out the dates and record them as reminders. Many programs like Microsoft Outlook allow users to add calendar dates for celebrations from different parts of the world automatically, making this task quick and effortless. Take a few minutes to mark your address book with the holidays that people celebrate. When writing holiday cards, recognize their holiday, and include a little hand-written note acknowledging their celebration.

See entire article here: http://humanresources.about.com/od/diversity/a/holiday_diverse.htm



Elect Her Leadership Program

Training Program for Women Students
Northern Virginia Community College

This leadership training program encourages and trains women students to run for student government and to consider future political office (local, state, national) in an effort to diminish the political leadership gender gap for women. The training program is free and open to all women students currently enrolled at all campuses of Northern Virginia Community College.   Lunch and reception included.

Seating is limited to 50 women students, so register now!
Friday, February 13, 2015
9:30 a.m. – 4:00 pm
Room 158, Bisdorf Building, Alexandria Campus

To register, contact Pat Gordon for the registration and nomination online forms/links at: pgordon@nvcc.edu                              

 This training program has been made possible through a collaboration with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Running Start, and the Alexandria Campus Women’s Center.


National Educators Coming Out Day!

What the purpose of the day is:

  • To encourage educators to publicly come out and be proud about supporting and working alongside undocumented students.
  • Encourage students to reach out to their educators to come out publicly and to move beyond support into action.
  • Create a national support network of educators. Shift the narrative to one that highlights that educators have a responsibility to provide resources to all of their students.
  • Encourage conversation around how support looks like for undocumented students in schools and to engage in conversations on how to increase the resources and access for undocumented immigrant students in education.

Get Involved…go to: http://unitedwedream.org/educatorsout/


PAID STEM Internships


Student benefits include…

  • A Certificate of Completion signed by  Governor McAuliffe.
  • Access to free and informative webcasts posted on the CSIIP website.
  • A convenient single-application process to reach 100+ companies across Virginia. Students don’t need to reapply each year.
  • No application deadlines
  • CSIIP applications roll over for future years, and updating your application is easier than ever
  • Students can indicate an interest in a specific organization or specific internship opportunity.
  • Opportunity for excellent hands-on experience related to their field of study.

Please direct your questions to Scott Bellows 757-766-5210(office).

For further questions regarding the CSIIP application process email CSIIP directly at csiip@spacegrant.org


NOVA GAP Scholarship

The Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of the  NOVA GAP Scholarship

Eligibility Criteria:
1. Student must be program placed in a NOVA associate’s degree

2. Student must have completed/be completing at least 12 credits toward degree requirements

3. Student must have participated in ONE Fall 2014 GAP-sponsored workplace training module:

  • If you attended the September 30th Resume Development Workshop
  • Conflict Resolution Workshop, Nov 7th, 9-9:50am, CA 317, Annandale Campus
  • Interviewing Skills Workshop, Dec 3rd, 9-11am, AA (Bisdorf) 196, Alexandria Campus

4. Student must be in Good Standing at NOVA with no less than a 2.8 GPA overall

5. Student must provide one letter of recommendation from a NOVA faculty member

6. Student must submit an essay addressing two topics:

  • What I found most valuable in the Gap Seminars?
  • What I am currently doing and plan to do to improve my career preparedness?

7. Student must be eligible for employment within the United States

Number of Awards Offered: Three

Value of Each Award: $898

Use of Award: The scholarship may be used only for tuition, books, and supplies at NOVA, as stated in NVCC Educational Foundation Scholarship Policy.

How to Apply (must be postmarked by December 10, 2014):
1. Completed Scholarship Application
2. Essay
3. Letter of Recommendation

Mail or deliver documents in a sealed envelope to:
Stuart Bowen, Retention Counselor, Pathway to the Baccalaureate
Northern Virginia Community College
5000 Dawes Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311

Recipient Selection Process: Selection made by NOVA’s Grants Committee.

Deadline for Application: Completed Scholarship Application and any other required materials must be received by Stuart Bowen on/or postmarked by December 10, 2014.

If you have any questions about applying for this scholarship, please contact Stuart Bowen at sbowen@nvcc.edu.

Notification of Awards: Recipients will be notified by mail of the outcome of the scholarship application process in December, 2014.

NASA Funded STEM Take Flight Scholarships

The NASA-funded STEM Takes Flight $5,000 scholarship is open to students attending any community college in Virginia and majoring in STEM.

Application deadline is November 17!

Great opportunity to earn a scholarship beginning in the spring semester 2015!

VSGC wants to award students majoring in STEM who want to either transfer to a four-year institution or plan to graduate and enter the workplace. VSGC will help bridge students to next steps in higher education or employment through coaching and mentoring by VSGC staff, four-year college faculty, and by upper classmen.

Underrepresented minorities, females, and students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Must be enrolled in at least 9 credit hours this semester and plan to be full-time during the 3 semester award period.

Rudo Kashiri, Education Programs Manager,
Virginia Space Grant Consortium

Link: http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/STEMtakesFlight/CommunityCollege.html



Pathway 2014 VALHEN Scholarship Recipients

Jonathan Coellojonathan

Mario Colón Rivadeneira Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

Northern Virginia Community College – Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program
Jonathan is currently enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College where he is a part of the Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program. He is studying Biology while maintaining a G.P.A. of 3.7, aiming to transfer to George Mason University. Eventually he would like to attend medical school. Hoping to become the first in his family to receive a Bachelor’s degree, Jonathan does his best to balance school with work and personal time. Having a passion for working with children, he volunteers at a local neighborhood community center where he tutors students from 1st to 12th grade as well as coaching young children as a swim instructor. Having been through many hardships in life, Jonathan seeks to be a good role model for the people he comes across and tries to instill a love of school and learning in young minds. He makes sure to take full advantage of every opportunity granted to him. He is already considered a success among his family and friends and they are all very proud of him!

wilmerWilmer Medrano

VALHEN Scholarship ($500)

Northern Virginia Community College – Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program

Wilmer is a freshman at Northern Virginia Community College. His passion towards helping his community motivates him to study criminal justice. In 2013, Wilmer joined Raider Readers, a club that places high school students at Baileys Elementary school to read to the young students and build a mentoring relationship. He also joined the Hispanic Honor Society that promotes Hispanic culture through school activities. For example, he volunteered as a tutor for high school freshmen in beginner level Spanish. Since his first year in the United States he has held a job to support his family and his studies. His dedication at school, willingness to serve, and discipline at work have served him well as he joined the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Service as an Activity Facilitator. He was been actively involved with United for Social Justice (USJ), and STAR, two non-profit organizations whose missions are to enable more low-income and at-risk students to access higher education.