On April 28, Administrative Council members surprised two NOVA students with the news that they had been awarded 2015 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships.
Chun-Ming “Chris” Chen and Maria Vera Alvarez are among 90 students nationally to receive the prestigious award. The scholarship provides up to $40,000 a year toward tuition, books, living expenses and required fees for the final two to three years needed to earn a bachelor’s degree. It is the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the country.
“Everyone at NOVA applauds Maria and Chris for earning these significant scholarships. We are delighted and thankful that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will support these two exceptional students as they continue their educations,” said Acting President Mel D. Schiavelli.
Chen and Vera Alvarez join a growing number of NOVA Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholars. Over the last 10 years, 12 NOVA students have been selected for Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships. Selection criteria focus on exceptional academic ability and achievements, financial need, persistence, leadership, and a desire to help others.
In 2011, Chen graduated from Chantilly High School where he earned 52 credits through Advanced Placement courses. At NOVA, he was co-president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He is on track to graduate this summer with an associate degree in business administration and a 4.0 GPA. Chen has been accepted at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia, but he is waiting to hear from other universities before making a decision about where to continue his education. Wherever he goes, he will study finance to pursue his goal of becoming a fund manager so he can raise and manage funds for future students.
Vera Alvarez is the second NOVA Pathway to the Baccalaureate student to win the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. She graduated from Freedom High School in 2013 and then enrolled at NOVA to study science. This well-rounded student traveled to England to participate in a study abroad program that focused on Shakespeare and she plans to take another study abroad trip in summer 2015 to learn about Irish literature in Ireland. She will transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in Spanish. Her long-range plan is to become a pediatrician.
Both students completed Honors courses at multiple campuses. Chen took Honors courses at Annandale, Alexandria and Manassas campuses, driving 54 miles every Monday and Wednesday during one semester to take the courses he wanted. Vera Alvarez completed Honors courses at Loudoun and Manassas campuses.
Special thanks to Libby Sears, coordinator for special awards programs, for guiding the students through the rigorous application process.