Four NOVA Graduates Named 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars

Four NOVA Graduates Named 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars

Four NOVA Graduates Named 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars
Nooshin Bashiri, Manisha Khatri, Shahrozia Imtiaz, Derrick Arthur-Cudjoe learn of their future from President Scott Ralls.

NOVA is extremely pleased to announce that an unprecedented four 2016 graduates have been awarded the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The scholarship provides up to $40,000 per year for tuition, books, living expenses and required fees for the final two to three years necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.

The winners are:

  • Derrick Arthur-Cudjoe, Alexandria Campus
  • Nooshin Bashiri, Annandale Campus
  • Shahrozia Imtiaz, Loudoun Campus
  • Manisha Khatri, Woodbridge Campus

Those selected have demonstrated financial need and hold excellent records of academic achievement, as evidenced by their grades, leadership skills, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity. NOVA’s 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars’ profiles are available online.

Four NOVA Graduates Named 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars
President Scott Ralls congratulates NOVA’s 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholars.

The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions that award bachelor’s degrees.

NOVA’s four students were selected from 2,600 applications submitted from 1,200 community colleges nationwide. Seventy-five winners were selected from around the country. NOVA was one of only two community colleges nationally that had four winners this year. Only one other community college in the Virginia Community College System (Piedmont Community College) had a scholarship winner.

“Many have completed numerous Honors courses, and some of these outstanding students have completed the entire Honors curriculum,” said Elizabeth “Libby” Sears, special awards program coordinator for NOVA. “To be selected for the JKC scholarship, students must reflect sophisticated writing, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

The students and many attendees wept at the surprise announcement held in NOVA’s Administration Building on the Annandale Campus. Many named specific professors and advisors who assisted them throughout their time at NOVA, and they thanked them for their help and support.

President Scott Ralls noted that the students, from four different campuses, all graduated summa cum laude and all in the sciences. “We want to celebrate the great stuff that happens at NOVA,” Ralls said. “We are so proud of our incredible students.”

A short video of the surprise is available online through NOVA Video Services.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from elementary school to graduate school, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring high-performing, low-income students have the support necessary to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to its scholarship programs, the Foundation provides grants for innovative, high-impact initiatives that benefit such students. By doing so, the Cooke Foundation seeks to use its resources to end the excellence gap, the disparity between the number of low and high income students who reach the top levels of academic performance. Founded in 2000, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded $130 million in scholarships to 1,900 students and over $80 million in grants. Learn more at


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