Student Spotlight Special Thanksgiving Edition: Presenting NVCC-Alexandria CKI President Mehreen Khan!

1236321_230115830475717_2095804739_nMy name is Mehreen Khan. I am a sophomore at NOVA , majoring in Information Technology and Liberal Arts. I came to America about two years ago from Pakistan. I remember how I was debating with myself to apply for different colleges in America. The question, what college should I choose, was a matter of a great concern for me because college was the ladder to the success of my future. I chose NOVA because I was a student looking for leadership and recognition and a quality education in the same package. This acknowledgement from NOVA has brought the dreams that were never conceivable in my eyes into a reality by the doors that by joining NOVA has opened for me. I was born and raised in a society, where people think that girls should be limited to household environment only. My father, Jahangir Azam, gave me that push to make a difference in the society where I belonged to. He never could finish his education and despite all the odds he wanted me study and achieve every opportunity which could make an impact in my life and through which I could inspire other girls to go for great opportunities. Going for higher education was my best chance to step ahead of that mentality.

1390628_247413845412582_978734011_nI am a passionate student and NOVA was the right spark for my passion. Joining NOVA allowed me to get the opportunities which led a growth and development in my career through participation in leadership services. NOVA has made my college experience exceptional by connecting me with the people who had the same level of passion and love for education as mine. I believe that there are no born heroes or winners; it takes a hammer, a chisel, a vision and a will to suffer the blows and be carved into one successful individual. NOVA provided me the opportunity to learn more about myself. All this started when I got involved in college clubs and different other organizations. I am not only succeeding academically but also I am active in the leadership roles in the college.

I am the current president of Circle K International, a service organization formed to help the community through various service projects. I am also a proud student leader on campus and all my efforts and devotions are to make sure that I can help students any way possible. I was also a peer mentor whose job is to make sure that we are helping the pregnant female students on campus and helping couples to reduce any kind of violence and assault. I was involved in student government association as well. All my efforts, from the beginning were to help the community, where I am in.  A person’s personality is the gateway into who they are. My experience at NOVA crafted me into a personality where satisfaction lies in helping others and be an inspiration for many others who aspire to dream and achieve their goals.

Faculty Spotlight Special Thanksgiving Edition: Presenting Liberal Arts Dean Dr. Jimmie McClellan!






“Blood Circus”


jimmie-mcclellanIn a world large enough to accommodate the likes of a Spiderman, X Men, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman, I once upon a time convinced myself that there was a niche in the ranks of superheroes for a mild-mannered, bowling pin-juggling superhero who chased down monsters from outer space on a solid chrome unicycle. I would be known as One-der Wheelman. There would be movie after movie: One-der Wheelman I, One-der Wheelman II: the Sequel, One-der Wheelman Rolls Again!, Wheelman Recycled, and on and on. In reality, I came so close to becoming a Hollywood Superstar that I started to worry if there would be enough parking for the paparazzi in my neighborhood. I was sure that my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame would be somewhere between those of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, Fame and Fortune came straight at me, and then, just when they were about to lift me upon their fickle shoulders, they made an abrupt U-turn and sprinted away. Looking back, I believe I may have overestimated the public interest.

When we are young–often far too young–we are called upon to choose a career track that will transport us safely through life and deliver us to a comfortable retirement. The track I chose was that of a historian. But being practical, I knew that the career track I had selected was a prone to early and frequent derailment and that, should the study of history not carry me where I wanted to go, it would  be good to have a lucrative back-up skill of some kind. At least this was how I justified many hours of procrastination when I was supposed to be buried in my studies: I was not wasting time, I was responsibly searching for a profitable second-chance profession.

One day after reading an exciting chapter from a book on the economic implications of firewood exportation in thirteenth century Luxembourg, I put my history studies aside and reached for any other reading material I could find, telling myself that I was not wasting time, I was merely researching all available options for a back-up profession.

The only book within reach was the Montgomery Wards Mail Order Catalogue and when, after a few hours of thumbing through the sections on washing machines, jewelry, clothing, furniture, tires and automotive parts, I reached page 1724, the wheels in my mind suddenly started turning. Or, should I say, wheel. What I saw on that page was a picture of a unicycle. “This is it!” I thought. “Given the large number of people who cannot ride one of those, there must be a big demand for someone who can.”

A month later a box arrived at my door and within minutes I had assembled its contents into a unicycle. Oddly enough, the study of one-wheeled transportation systems–“Unipsychology”–is not a part of the curriculum of any American college or university and so I was forced to teach myself. For close to a year I battled the forces of gravity. I learned the bitter lesson that while a bicycle can tumble in only two directions, there are 360 degrees of opportunities to fall on a unicycle. But after two years I could ride backwards and forwards while juggling and playing the harmonica. I was ready to take my act on the road.

600295_10200909586372696_1528952398_nI entertained at birthday parties and neighborhood fairs, and then the invitations started rolling in. I became a regular on the parades down Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues.  I performed on stage at the National Theatre. I taught my daughter to ride and we did a halftime show at a Chicago Bulls game. I dunked from a tall cycle and gave Michael Jordan a few pointers. We entertained at the White House. This is all true. Then one day the call came: a big-time Hollywood Producer said he had parts in a major motion picture for someone who could ride a unicycle and for someone who could juggle. “I’m your man, or men,” I said, “I can do both.”

As it turned out, this may not have been a good career decision. The movie was called “Blood Circus.” One newspaper described it as a “a supersonic spacewrastlin’ movie.” The plot was never completely clear, but apparently the storyline had a group of cannibalistic wrestlers from the Planet Zorok come to Earth where they fought, decapitated, and consumed body parts of American and Soviet WWF-style wrestlers. In the climactic scene, a typical American wrestling fan, a guy named Long John–8 feet tall, 450 pounds–comes down from the stands and gives the Zorokians the All-American whippin’ they so richly deserve.

My scenes were filmed at the BaltimoreCivicCenter. The Producer rented the gigantic facility and filled it to capacity twice in one day with spectators who paid $10 a piece to see the gory extravaganza as dozens of cameras were recording it. Interspersed with the wrestling scenes were sideshows that included such diversions as my unicycling and juggling and the Producer, donning wig and aviator glasses and taking on the alias Santo Gold, performing rock music.

But the fans were not interested in feats of balance on one wheel or exhibitions of manual dexterity with bowling pins, they came to see blood. They cheered wildly as bodies were tossed from the ring and stretchers carried off victims of what appeared to be less than sportsmanlike behavior from guys like Ox and The Mummy and Junkyard Dog and Mucho Man and Voodoo Malumba, a four hundred pound mauler with a nasty disposition. In the closing minutes of the blood fest, the Zorokians descended on the ring and literally took Voodoo apart, tossing his head out into the audience and consuming his body in full view of all. Blood flowed. The fans screamed for more. It had the makings of great cinema.

Moments after this scene, all of the hapless victims whose blood and body parts had been strewn across rows A though G in the Civic Center were sitting with me at a long table in the cast cafeteria miraculously healed from their life-threatening wounds and sharing a meal with the eight bulky bullies from Zorok. It was a rare moment of intergalactic harmony. And I did not allow this evidence to shake my deep belief that everything that happens in a wrestling ring is indisputably real.

8102As we enjoyed our meal, the crowd grew louder and rowdier. They were not satisfied. I overheard the Director and Producer discussing the problem. The crowd would not leave the arena. The fans had been told repeatedly that the show was over and that they must vacate the building. Still they cried for more. The Producer, a cunning man, told the Director to make the announcement that the movie needed a scene of fans exiting the building. Every fan who walked by cameras placed at each exit and waved would be guaranteed that his face would appear in the final version of the movie. Within minutes of the announcement, the fans were filing out the door. The doors were locked behind them.

It may be hard to believe that a movie with this much appeal would be a box office flop. Yet, once the film was completed, no distributor could be found to promote it and the Producer had to rent a theater in Baltimore for the premiere. Only three people showed up on opening night, two of them were critics and the third was one of the movie’s extras. In subsequent showings, the movie never again attracted a crowd quite that large. The only remaining copy of “Blood Circus” has apparently been lost forever, though a few scenes can still be found on YouTube.

But wait, there’s more!

In the years following the production of Blood Circus, its Producer, taking on the persona of Santo Gold appeared in late night infomercials hawking cheap “Gold” jewelry and showing clips from the “soon to be released space wrastlin’ epic.” I was paid a modest fee for riding my unicycle in several of his late night cable shows. He not only recouped the $2 million cost of the movie, he made a substantial profit before being convicted of mail fraud and serving ten months in prison.

I remain convinced that a wide distribution of “Blood Circus” would have been the springboard that catapulted me to superstardom. And had One-der Wheelman been sent forth to tackle the Zorokians rather than Long John, my place in Hollywood legend would have be secured. I am thankful that being an action hero on the silver screen was never more than my back-up profession and that riding a unicycle on the home shopping network is not a criminal offense.

*Blood Circus IMDB Page:

*Dr. McClellan have also won fourteen US Gold Medals at the US Canoe and Kayak Championships, two Gold Medals from the Canadian National Championships, a Silver Medal in a four-man boat in the 1000 meter sprint, a Bronze Medal in the 500 meter sprint in a four-man boat, and a Silver Medal in the 5000 meter sprint at the World Games.

* He is also an Alexandria Living Legend:




  • Saturday, 7 December 2013
  • 10am – 2pm
  • Schlesinger Center | Alexandria Campus


Pottery made by students and teachers at the Alexandria Ceramics Program are donated to this event.


All funds raised by this event are deposited in the Ceramic Studio Fund held by The NOVA Educational Foundation.

Funds are used to purchase supplies and for equipment repairs.


For more information please contact William Schran | Assistant Dean Fine Arts | 703-845-6075

Register now! Power Up your Pedagogy for 2014

Register today…before you forget!

You cannot miss this remarkable conference


Power Up Your Pedagogy

The Ninth Annual Power UP your Pedagogy (PUP) Conference REGISTRATION continues!  All Faculty and Professional Staff are cordially invited.

It is an online registration — Just click on this link:
And then on the Registration Tab.

Teaching, Learning and Studying 21st Century Pedagogy



PUP is an exciting, award-winning, professional development conference that brings all NOVA faculty together.  PUP is YOUR conference presented by YOUR colleagues. You will leave with amazing new insights about the best teaching practices, the best teaching tips and tricks and the very best ideas about teaching and especially about teaching at NOVA! Cluster Meetings are also part of the conference.


The 2014 PUP 21st Century Teaching & Learning

January 8th and 9th on the Annandale Campus


Register Now and we will do the rest!


We have reviewed some wonderful proposals and have many exciting presentations for the conference. You will see the following:

  • Interactive peer presentations are at the heart of the conference.  You may choose to attend a variety of sessions such as:
    • Many interactive 45-minute breakout sessions
    • Dynamic two-hour workshops
    • Topical Interest Groups
    • Three important conference addresses highlight the conference. Learn from our leaders:
      • Dr. Robert Templin will give a welcoming address to open the conference
      • Robert Bausch, the 2013 NOVA SCHEV Award winner will give us his insights on teaching.
      • And,  continuing last year’s amazing success with a Second Day Plenary Speaker: Dr. Bryan Alexander, an educational futurist.


  • Also featured  this year:
    •  an Active Backchannel to make it your own conference:  A backchannel conversation is one that occurs concurrently with the main conference and gives voice to attendees.  Each can add content to the conference, comment on it as it progresses, and share inspirations from it.  Here are the PUP backchannels:


  • PUP twitter feed #PUP14.
  • A PUP blog page on which to enter comments as replies.
  • Whiteboards for your written and drawn comments
  • Face to face conversations in the PUP lounge area.


  • A Project Poster Presentation hosted by adjunct and fulltime faculty in the Gym
  • An exhibition of Learning Spaces of the Future
  • A Vendor Fair that lets you visit with representatives of companies dedicated to supporting education in the CE Forum


  • PUP has an important commitment to sustainability.   When you register you’ll be able to choose how you want to receive your program – in a printed format, or electronically.  You’ll also be able to print your individual conference schedule through the Conference Event Planner, just as soon as the program is finalized.  We’ll let you know.  (Printed programs will only be available to those who indicated they want one during the registration process.  They won’t be available at the conference.)


Every attempt is being made to be sure that everyone, even those who only attend Cluster Meetings, receives a lunch.   The lunches are the single largest expense for PUP.  In these tight economic times, it is imperative that we have an accurate count of those who wish lunch.   The only way to count YOU is by your registration.  You must register even if you only plan to attend the Cluster meetings.



A Winter Weather Reminder from the Facilities Department:


Please be advised that the Virginia State Fire Prevention Code does not allow the following in any college buildings:


Extension Cords   – (605.5)

Space heaters      – (605.10.4) Portable, electric space heaters shall not be operated within 3 feet of any combustible materials……….

Daisy chained power strips (605.4.2) One power strip plugged into another one


If you have any of the above items on campus please remove them ASAP.


Kathy M. Clement

Contract Coordinator

Buildings & Grounds, Alexandria Campus

Northern Virginia Community College

Phone: 703-933-5081


***CVC*** Disaster Relief for the Philippines

Typhoon ravages the Philippines Heart Flower


(Reuters) – Rescue workers struggled to reach ravaged towns and villages in the central Philippines on Monday as they tried to deliver aid to survivors of a powerful typhoon that killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced more than 600,000.

Philippines storm kills estimated 10,000, destruction hampers rescue efforts

By Manuel Mogato and Roli Ng

TACLOBAN, Philippines Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:34pm EST


Want to Help?


Employees wishing to donate to help in disaster relief may give online at these sites to CVC member charities.


Doctors without Borders (medical relief) (CVC #0336)


CARE (CVC #0308)


International Red Cross

Disaster Relief Supplies and Food  (CVC #3403)


Employees are encouraged to give online and print their acknowledgement of the gift.  Give the printed copy to your CVC coordinator so your agency’s CVC campaign will be credited with this gift.


Anne Dinterman

Employee Programs

Dept. of Human Resource Management

Join Your Dean of Students for AfterNoon Chat

Join Your Dean of Students for AfterNoon Chat

Enjoy Lunch & Chat with your Dean of Students

Dates:                   Times: 12/05/2013        12:30-2:00 pm

01/12/2014             12:30-2:00 pm

02/20/2014           12:30-2:00 pm

03/20/2014            5:30-7:00 pm

04/17/2014             12:30-2:00 pm

06/19/2014             12:30-2:00 pm

07/14/2014            5:30-7:00 pm

08/20/2014            12:30-2:00 pm

09/18/2014             5:30-7:00 pm

10/16/2014            12:30-2:00 pm

11/20/2014           12:30-2:00 pm

Location: available upon rsvp Confirmation

RSVP By Email:

Share your thoughts & ideas About your Nova experience

Important Bookstore Dates. Rentals, Buy Back, SFA, Hours.

The Bookstore would like to remind you of some important dates that are coming up:

*   November 27th – December 1st the Bookstore will be CLOSED for the Thanksgiving Holiday.   *   The week of December 9th and 16th is the BEST time to sell your books back via our Buy Back program. You can receive UP TO 50% CASH BACK! Buy Back is done outside the window in front of the Alexandria Bookstore entrance. Please note you MUST have your NOVA ID to do Buy Back. Before you sell back your textbooks make sure that you didn’t rent your textbook and that you wont need the book again for another semester. All Back Back sales are FINAL. Make sure you stop in after taking your finals!

 *   All textbooks RENTED for Fall 2013 are DUE back December 17th. Please note you must check in your rented book at the campus you rented from. Remember if you want to ship your rented book back to us WE WILL PAY FOR SHIPPING! Attached you will find instructions on how to print your free shipping label. Please note shipments MUST go out by December 17th.

 *   December 24th – January 1st the Bookstore will be CLOSED for the winter break.   *   January 2nd – January 30th you may use your SFA funds at the Bookstore, for in person transactions you MUST have your NOVA ID.

Regular Bookstore Hours:

Monday – Thursday:       9:00 am to 7:00 pm           

Friday:       9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday:       CLOSED


For more information please contact Natalie Garcia | Department Manager | 703.671.0043 |<>

Join us on Facebook:<>

Store Website:        <>

NOVA-IN-CHINA opportunity

Dear NOVA Community members,

Would you like to go to China with us to attend Chinese language classes, travel and visit cultural sights in Beijing, Wuyishan, Xiamen, Nanjing and Shanghai when you elect to join us for bothof the programs described below: Program #1 Language Studies in China and #2 Cultural Exploration. Or, choose only Program #2 Cultural Exploration and travel with us to culturallyenriching cities and places. Whichever program you choose, you will be immersed in Chinese culture and experience first-hand its beauty and history.

Both programs are open to all students and members of the community.  Some scholarships will be available for qualified students. (All dates, itinerary, and price may be adjusted.)

Contact: Dr. Dali Tan, Assistant professor of Chinese, China Coordinator, <> or 703-933-5078.

Information Meeting: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at Alexandria Campus, Bisdorf Building 0342, 8:00pm.

If you can’t come to the information meeting, please contact Dr. Tan if you are interested and she can set up individual meetings with you to talk about the trip and to answer your questions.


May 17 to June 2, 2014
Morning language classes for beginners and those with background
Travel and Excursions in Beijing, Wuyishan, Xiamen, Nanjing and Shanghai

The program, open to all VCCS students and people from the community, will take place in two stages. Participants may elect to join us for both of the following opportunities or just the travel portion of the program.

(1)   Language Study in China (Friday, May 17 to Thursday, May 22, 2014):
Business Chinese for Beginners (CHI 103) or Business Chinese for Intermediate Level Learners (CHI 295) for 3 credits each or enrichment Chinese Language and culture classes

  *   Intensive language classes at a Chinese university with NOVA faculty for credits or with local instructors for non-credit language and culture classes

  *   Language and cultural exchange with Chinese professors and students
  *   Cultural classes and sightseeing excursions as well as service learning at  local sites

(2)   Cultural Exploration (Thursday May 22 to Monday, June 2, 2014, tour only participants leave DC on May 21, 2014): Beijing, Wuyishan, Xiamen, Nanjing and Shanghai

Introduction to the bustling streets of China’s largest cities, as well as to Chinese life at its most basic, beginning in Beijing. See the most famous landmarks of China, including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven in addition to famous Olympic venues like the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.  Travel continues to Wuyishan to view the magnificent Tianyou Peak and to ride on a bamboo raft on the beautiful Nine-Crooked Creek.  Then fly to Xiamen to explore Gulangyu Island and visit the famous South Putuo Temple as well as Xiamen University, known for having the most beautiful campus in China. Take another flight to Nanjing where you will have opportunity to visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and have an exchange event at Nanjing Institute of Industry Technology. Then move on to Shanghai to visit the Shanghai museums and the Yuyuan Gardens and explore the Bund and Nanjing Road and get a bird’s eye view of the entire city of Shanghai from the top of the “Oriental Pearl Tower.” We’ll fly back to the United States with the group and arrive home on Monday, June 2, 2014.  Language learning will continue to be a focus of the program. We will take full advantage of this immersion experience to arrange many structured opportunities for participants to practice what they have learned during the intensive language studies program, so they can further enhance their linguistic proficiency and deepen their cultural understanding during the cultural exploration part of the program.


For more information contact Dr. Dali Tan | Assistant professor of Chinese | China Coordinator |<> | 703.933.5078


Faculty Spotlight: Prof. Sherry Trachtman





Beach Baby Sherry“I learned to walk on the beach at the Jersey Shore”


In the 1950’s and 60’s, my grandparents had a beach house on the Jersey Shore in a quiet family-oriented town with big Victorian hotels and penny arcades along the wide boardwalk.  On weekends, we somehow packed 12+ family members into the 4 small bedrooms. Before breakfast, the men loaded the car with our heavy wood and canvas beach chairs and umbrellas. Popa drove the 2 short blocks and backed up to the boardwalk to unload. Forming a line, my uncles and Dad would pass our equipment over the fence and onto the sand to set up our family encampment. After everyone ate (usually in shifts in the tiny kitchen), the family walked to the beach in a caravan of strollers and wagons toting food hampers, toys and kids, to claim our space for the day.


Sherry for SpotlightTo keep me from toddling off too far (like into the ocean), my mother attached my carriage harness (a 50’s version of a car-seat strap) to a chair on a short rope. Tempted by the interesting foods and folks in the adjacent family groups, I soon learned how to walk on the sand.  Kids then could safely be given the freedom to visit neighbors in the beach-blanket community, and according to family lore, I’d put on my mother’s sunglasses, exclaim, “Dark in here”, and head off to other enclaves 5 feet away, to sample their Armenian or Italian tidbits.


By the time I was five, I could walk behind my Dad, stepping in his footprints to avoid the hottest sand, and help carry back all the ice creams. I could walk to the trash cans near the boardwalk, to the ocean’s edge with my pail and shovel, and to the life guard stands to compete for a seat underneath. The life guards stood up often with lost, crying kids on their shoulders and blew their whistles to alert the families. No kid wanted to miss that show! These exciting early childhood summers started my journey as a life-long explorer.


Hilary Clinton wisely taught us that it takes a village to raise kids, and the Jersey Shore beaches of the mid 20th Century were little villages of 3 generation families who watched out for each other. The art department at NOVA, Alexandria is a little village, too. We may not be enjoying surf and sand, but we are a community, do have fun while learning, and there are often interesting international foods to try.