Democracy Builders: 2018 Lightning Talks

Democracy Builders:  2018 Lightning Talks Information

We believe that informed civil discourse has an essential and relevant role in a democratic society.  We invite you, our NOVA students, to prepare a “lightning talk”—a five-minute speech suggesting how you would increase informed civil discourse in our society.  You may address specific current critical and/or controversial topics, at local, regional, state, or national levels.  Be creative and dream big.  Tell us how you would re-invent our social structures and processes to promote thoughtful, informed, and respectful discussion of issues.  Representatives will be selected from NOVA campuses, and the final competition will be held on April 19, 2018 at 6pm.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • You must be in good academic standing at NOVA and be currently enrolled for 3 or more academic credits in the Spring 2018 semester


  • Promoting Informed Civil Discourse in a Democratic Society

Speech Requirements:

  • A five-minute speech
  • A 10 slide powerpoint that advances automatically every 30 seconds.
  • Your original work
  • Standard attribution of quotes, citations, etc.
  • If selected, you must be available to give your talk on Thursday, April 19th, at 6pm.


You will submit your slides to your campus’ Lighting Talks Committee before your presentation.

Evaluation Criteria:

Innovation & Usefulness – Ideas presented are innovative, unique, and creative; practical and useful.

Persuasive & Well-Delivered – Message is delivered in a highly articulate and persuasive manner; overall presentation is polished, non-verbal delivery conveys enthusiasm and professionalism.

Presentation – Visual aid is relevant and interesting; enhances overall message.


About Democracy Builders: The Loser-Savkar Democracy Builders competition was established by NOVA Chemistry Professor Reva A. Savkar, and NOVA Professor Emeritus Robert C. Loser. Reva A. Savkar, born and raised in the world’s largest democracy (India), has been teaching at NOVA for more than three decades. Robert C. Loser, born and raised in the world’s second largest democracy (USA), recently retired after three decades at NOVA. They believe that democracy depends on an informed citizenry actively participating in decisions, and that civil discourse is an essential part of this process.  They created this contest to spark innovations, foster ideas, and stimulate meaningful discourse.

The essay, including the cover page, must be submitted via your official NOVA student email account to


Student Spotlight: My Educational Journey

This week’s student spotlight comes from ELI student, Geofrey as he shares about what he has learned through his educational journey at NOVA.

I have learned from experience, that education never ends, has no age limit and can benefit all persons who choose to further their knowledge in different fields and aspects of life. I’m a Ugandan-American and unlike many of my college-mates at Nova, I was not born in the US nor went to high school here. Also unlike my college friends, I’m a bit on the “older side” to be taking classes with them at this point. Being in your thirties and taking classes with eighteen to twenty year-olds used to feel funny, but the environment and professors at campus are so welcoming, friendly and always willing to help. I have gotten used to going to classes without feeling ashamed or embarrassed of my extended age. I found out that no one really cares about yours or my age. My busy life has had me take classes off and on for the last few years without a definite end in sight, and I’d love to share two aspects that have helped me blend in as an older enthusiastic outsider.

Make Goals

Believing, determination and having a concrete vision is key. I always knew that I needed to complete my education and earn my degree, but was never fully vested in doing the work and getting it done. Time goes fast when you procrastinate. Making realistic goals, checking on my progress and seeking for ways to balance my education with family and work life to better focus on earning my degree has been key. I knew that if I didn’t make goals, there would be nothing to look forward to and therefore wouldn’t see a need to work hard. So, I made goals and made plans to achieve them.

Stay Positive

No one is looking, and if they are, they are on your side. Even though I knew I had what it took to be successful, my first classes at Nova were filled with a bit of self-doubt. Am I too old, will I fit in, what will they say; were questions in my head. Staying positive, asking questions and making new friends were key to gaining confidence on my college career. So, the best way for me was finding those things that made me relevant, making friends and consulting with my career counselor as much as I could. Soon or later my doubt was gone and I was part of a family. This happens to almost everybody, but the key is to stay positive and optimistic. The system is set up to help you and you alone- utilize it and you’ll be just fine!

Interested in submitting a post for our ELIfe blog? Contact for more information.

The History of Black Panther

This week marks the premier of Marvel’s Black Panther, but this is not just any other Marvel movie. This marks major milestones in the movie industry.              Before we look at how this movie is making an impact, do you know the origins of Black Panther?

Who are the Black Panthers?

Also known as the Black Panther Party, were a political party founded in 1966 to challenge police brutality against the African-American community in the United States. Black Panther Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panthers in the wake of the assassination of black nationalist Malcolm X and after police in San Francisco shot and killed an unarmed black teen named Matthew Johnson.

Why were they so important to African-American history in America?

The Black Panthers were part of the larger Black Power movement, which emphasized black pride, community control and unification for civil rights. The Black Panthers started a number of popular community social programs, including free breakfast programs for school children and free health clinics in 13 African American communities across the United States. The Black Panther Party officially dissolved in 1982.

Why is the Black Panther movie making in impact?

It’s a movie about what it means to be black in both America and Africa—and, more broadly, in the world. This also is also a movie featuring an African-American director as well as a predominately black cast. Its themes challenge institutional bias and its narrative includes prismatic perspectives on black life and tradition.

Are you going to see the Black Panther movie? What are your thoughts?


Learn more from the resources below:

Black Panthers

The Black Panthers: Revolutionaries, Free Breakfast Pioneers

The Revolutionary Power of Black Panther


Cultivating Healthy Relationships

Happy Valentines day! This is typically the day we honor and celebrate the loving relationships with have in our lives. Whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, this is a great opportunity to reflect on any relationships you do have in your life.

Do you know what it looks like to have a healthy relationship? What are some things one can do to cultivate better relationships with others?

Here are a few tips:

Image result for healthy relationship gif empathy

Empathy: The most successful relationship dynamics are when each person involved in the relationship has a strong sense of empathy. Empathy basically means that you are consciously thinking about how another person might feel and acting respectfully and thoughtfully accordingly. Empathy is the foundation and core of any successful relationship.

 Image result for healthy relationship gif compromise

Compromise and Fairness: All relationships should have some feeling of reciprocity. This means both parties in the relationship do not feel like the relationship is one sided or uneven.  People who consistently take from others and expect people to give and bend over backwards for them are people who jeopardize relationships  of real substance.


Image result for emotionally drained gif

Boundaries: If you find yourself in a friendship/relationship with someone who has little or no empathy, is not thoughtful or emotionally generous, is flaky, does not compromise, or only asks for things of you when they need something from you, put up a boundary and either distance yourself from the person or end the relationship entirely. There is no point in having relationships that make you feel bad, drain you and leave you resentful.

Learn more tips about healthy relationships by visiting these resources:

6 Ways to Cultivate Better Relationships for More Happiness

How to have a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

NOVA Sexual Assault Services is celebrating Healthy Relationships this week in February. This event highlights all healthy and positive things in any type of relationship. To know more about the events or to find out more about Sexual Assault Services contact SAS directly at or 703-338-0834.

16 Tips for Using E-mail at Your New Job

  1. Do not use your employer’s e-mail address for anything other than work-related correspondence.
  2. Read e-mail carefully so that you can respond appropriately.
  3. Don’t send confidential material by e-mail.
  4. Use a subject line that reflects what your message is about.
  5. Don’t use abbreviations or text-message jargon (BTW, LOL, or smiley faces, and so forth) in your e-mail.
  6. Use a brief greeting as you might in a letter (Dear John, Good morning Mrs. Smith). Include a closing (Sincerely, Yours, Thanks).
  7. Use spell check and reread your message before sending.
  8. Respond to e-mail promptly.
  9. Use typefaces and colors that are appropriate to your workplace. Ask if your office has a style that you should follow.
  10. If you find you are e-mailing back and forth several times, pick up the phone to settle the issue.
  11. If you forward a message, remove the FW from the subject line.
  12. Change the subject line if the topic of the e-mail changes.
  13. Do not share other people’s e-mail addresses.
  14. Be careful using “reply all.” Consider whether it is necessary that everyone sees your reply.
  15. Do not forward other people’s messages without permission.
  16. Watch the tone of your e-mail. Remember, the person receiving the e-mail can’t see your body language.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Transfer Planning Events

It’s never too early to start transfer planning! This month, ELI has several events scheduled to assist in the transfer process and provide with you all the information you need to know to plan your transfer to a 4-year college or university!

Transfer Planning Webinar:  Wednesday February 14th 12-1pm

This one-hour webinar will discuss the basics of transfer academic planning; transfer resources and tools, including discussion on guaranteed admission agreements and articulation agreements; and transfer application tips. Register Now!

Transfer Q&A: Wednesday February 21st 12-1pm

Have questions about transferring? Stop by this virtual open forum to chat with a NOVA transfer counselor.This one-hour webinar will discuss the basics of transfer planning; information about Guaranteed Admission Agreements, Articulation Agreements, and Transfer Guides; and a web tour of NOVA’s transfer website.
Register Now!

Also check out recordings of past transfer events!

Transfer Planning: Alumni Transfer Panel

This recording highlights a panel of NOVA/ELI alumni students who have transferred to 4-year institutions. Learn more regarding the transfer process and listen to questions answered about their varied experiences. Information will be discussed around transfer topics such as Guaranteed Admission Agreements, understanding transfer requirements, and NOVA’s transfer resources. Request the recording now!

Additional questions about the Transfer process and requirements at NOVA? Contact our ELI Counselors at .

Career Planning Tool for NOVA Students

Did you know all NOVA students, staff, and faculty have free access to FOCUS 2, an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/major based on your interests and aspirations
  • Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

View a Getting Started with FOCUS 2 handout.

Follow the steps below to begin using FOCUS 2.

  1. Visit NOVA’s Career Services website
  2. Select FOCUS 2
  3. Click FOCUS 2 button
  4. Click REGISTER button
  5. Enter “NOVA” for the access code
  6. Enter your NOVA student e-mail address in the e-mail box
  7. Provide requested information
  8. Check box to acknowledge terms and conditions of system
  9. Click CONTINUE button

Contact Christy Jensen ( if you have any problems accessing the system.

NOVA Leadership & Diversity Conference

Join students from across the College for the second annual Student Life Diversity Conference hosted on the Loudoun campus on Friday, February 23rd from 8:30am-4:00pm.  This years conference theme is Boldly NOVA; Creating Inclusive Communities.

By participating in this conference, our goal is to help you achieve the following:

  • identify leadership characteristics to inform how to lead self and others
  • compile best practices to use in creating inclusive communities
  • understand the multiple dimensions of diversity and inclusion and how our background and related experiences inform our roles within the NOVA community.

This is a unique opportunity to learn more about leadership, diversity, and inclusion topics to become a better leader.

Register for the conference here: Leadership &Diversity Conference Registration form.

Please reach out to ELI Student Life ( with any questions.

Get Help Filing your Taxes


Open to all NOVA Students & their Families with an annual household income of $64,000 or less. Eligible NOVA employees also welcome.

Register Today as Space is Limited!

IRS-certified volunteers will help ensure you receive the maximum tax refund and help determine if you are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other Educational Credits. All taxes are prepared and filed electronically using TurboTax or other software. Volunteers do not file taxes for you, but assist you in understanding and submitting your online application. Students can attend workshops at ANY campus. Taxes normally take about 1 hour to complete. Please plan appropriately. We will not begin a new tax return 30 mins before a workshop ends.

 *International students cannot file taxes with us online. If you are an international student and you need help or have a question about your taxes, please attend the workshop. However, you will be informed that a paper tax return must be submitted.

 Alexandria Campus

FEB 5, 1-3PM (AA 477)

FEB 16, 10-2PM (AA377)

MAR 5, 5-8PM (AA377)

MAR 16, 10-2PM (AA377)

APR 2, 1-3PM (AA477)

APR 9, 5-8PM (AA295)


Annandale Campus

FEB 5, 5-8PM (CM124)

FEB 23, 10-2PM (CT116)

MAR 5, 1-3PM (CT228)

MAR 23, 10-2PM (CT116)

APR 2, 5-8PM (CM124)

APR 9, 1-3PM (CT228)


Loudoun Campus

FEB 19, 3-6PM (LR249J)

MAR 19, 1:30-4:30PM (LR104)

APR 13, 10-2PM (LR249J)


Manassas Campus

FEB 9, 10-2PM (MP114)

FEB 26, 1-4PM (MP116)

MAR 9, 10-2PM (MP114)

MAR 30, 10-2PM (MP114)


Medical Education Campus

FEB 12, 5-8PM

MAR 12, 1-3PM

APR 16, 10-2PM

Room 327


Woodbridge Campus

FEB 12, 1-3PM (WAS230K)

MAR 2, 10-2PM (Seefeldt 406)

MAR 12, 5-8PM (WAS230K)

MAR 26, 3-6PM (Room TBD)



Attend this workshop hosted once at each campus with NOVA’s Financial Professional & Coach, Diana Yacob. Learn about your tax refund, what it is, and how to make the most of the money you get back. Meet Diana and her background here:


Alexandria Campus – Friday, February 16, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, AA 377

Annanadale Campus – Friday, February 23, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, CT 116

Loudoun Campus – Friday, April 13, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, LR249J

Manassas Campus – Friday, March 30, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, MP 114

Medical Education Campus – Monday, March 12, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Room 327

Woodbridge Campus – Monday, March 26, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Room TBD




Free Online Internship and Job Search Tool

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing College Central Network (CCN) – NOVA’s online job board system.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and other opportunities posted exclusively to NOVA.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Search for jobs on CCN’s Jobs Central® national job board.  The job board contains over 500,000 opportunities from unique sources.
  • Check out CCN’s Intern Central® national internship board to search for internships.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to over 25 career advice podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access College Central Network
  2. Select Students
  3. Follow on screen instructions

Contact Career and Experiential Learning Services if you are unable to access the system.

The NOVA ELI Student Blog