Twenty-five students from NOVA graduated as the first cohort from the Year Up National Capital Region (NCR) – Woodbridge location on July 29 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. Woodbridge Campus students Jasmine Baker, Michael Deberry Jr., Beemnet Dinare, Miguel Ephraim, Timothy Freeman, Christian Galvan, Lorena Garcia, Ajani Grant, Rania Jaffa, Reeyia Jaffa, RaVaughn Jones, Courtney Jones, Bushra Kabir, Bazal Kabir, Bishal Karki, Christopher Mallace, Delia Moran, Catherine Mosier, Rivan Rashik, Mariah Spencer, Ibrar Tariq, Kalik Ware, Jacob Weintraub, Robin Williams and Sara Withrow completed the one-year intensive training program toward a career in cybersecurity or information technology.
Year Up is an award-winning, national 501(c)(3) organization that provides low-income young adults, ages 18 to 24, with a combination of hands-on skill development, college credits and corporate internships with a focus on IT and/or cybersecurity careers. Year Up NCR-Woodbridge, also referred and named by students as Learning Community (LC) Limitless, launched its first cohort of students at the Woodbridge Campus in August 2015.
LC Limitless students earned internships with regional corporate partners Capital One, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Fannie Mae, Hilton Worldwide and Symantec Corp. As interns, the 25 students worked as information security/splunk analysts, desktop support technicians, IT security specialists, network operations center (NOC) analysts and help desk specialists. They completed several tasks and career related projects ranging from computer systems configuration to installing software programs. Students also earned a stipend of up to $960 per month during their internships.
Weintraub, a full-time NOVA student, said the partnership between the Woodbridge Campus and Year Up is helping him to achieve an associate degree in cybersecurity. He discovered a desire to learn what he described as “the secrets” of being a skilled communicator and professional in the workplace, after he completed an internship at Symantec Corp in Herndon, Virginia. His increased level of confidence inspired him to serve as the first student speaker representing Year Up NCR-Woodbridge at graduation.
“More than anything else in the world I wanted to be confident and organize my thoughts in order to build great communication habits,” Weintraub said. “I learned how to manage these goals, and my internship at Symantec helped to develop those skills.”
Year Up NCR-Woodbridge Site Director Mariama Boney said out of the 25 LC Limitless graduates, 23 students have less than 20 credits remaining to complete their associate of applied science or associate of science degrees at NOVA. Fifteen students have received job offers, six are currently undergoing job interviews and four students are planning to transfer to a four-year university.
“I became interested in Year Up because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said IT NOVA student Courtney Jones. “This program has impacted my life in such a way that I know what it takes to be a young professional. I know now what it means to push yourself to great extents. I went into the program feeling nervous and came out confident.”