Laurel (Olfson-Manning) Schimelfenig 2007
NOVA was a safe place where I knew the staff, teachers, and fellow peers were there to support and guide me.
NOVA helped me in a few major ways. First off, it helped me understand the importance of studying and staying on top of my work. That was huge in my success! Additionally, it helped me feel like I belonged. While I was going through personal turmoil, NOVA was a safe place where I knew the staff, teachers, and fellow peers were there to support and guide me. And of course - it's cool to learn and be interested in school at NOVA. I continue to hold on to that every day.
As I type this out, I realize NOVA is a lot of why I love and am successful in my current job. Knowing someone is there for you, no matter how your life is going, can make all the difference. When failures are a part of learning and successes are celebrated, we can grow and thrive in our daily and academic lives. I work to be that person for every one of my students, to show them it's ok to stumble and get back up. Without NOVA, I think I'd be a lot more jaded and have limited myself years ago. I know what I can do, so I push boundaries with looking for jobs and help my students in my current position plan for the same in their lives.
I am currently a coordinator for a Federal TRIO program, STEM Student Support Services, at Washington State University in the Office of Academic Engagement. I also oversee our office's College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA) International Peer Educator Training Program Certification (IPTPC). Basically, I help out students from low-income households, those with first-generation backgrounds, and those with disabilities interested in pursuing a STEM degree navigate the college experience to increase retention and graduation, and I guide the training of the peer advisors/mentors in our office who help make up our support team!
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