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Andrea Worker

Stories by Andrea

Vienna Travel Club Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Shillelaghs Travel Club of Vienna celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a gala luncheon at The Westwood Country Club that was attended by more than 175 members, vendors and guests. The atmosphere was “family reunion.”

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Ready for Winter Skating Fun at Reston Town Center

Meteorologists around our region have been gleefully talking about the earlier-than-normal return of Polar Vortex-like weather for weeks, but the forecast for the Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion this past weekend was appropriately chilly, with brilliant blue skies overhead, holiday decorations all round, and buckets of fun on the ice.

Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Hunters Woods fifth graders gear up for 2014 Young Writers Project.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and for years the NaNoWriMo organization has put forth the challenge to write a novel in 30 days.

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Focus on Transportation

Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance presents regional priorities at 10th annual event.

“What You Need to Know about Transportation in Five Minutes or Less” was the working title of this year’s Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (NVTA) seminar and reception held on Sept. 30 at Capital One’s auditorium in McLean.

Herndon Mom Chronicles Her Preemie Blessing

Michelle Stevens shares her family’s experiences in blog, book.

“We went to the NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit] early that morning to learn how to mix Emily's high-calorie formula and administer her vitamins.

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Kids Sending Smiles Raise Funds for Local Charity

They’re at it again. Who’s at what? Those girls from Kids Sending Smiles (KSS) – that’s “who.” The “what” is yet another charitable mission completed by this band of energetic and socially conscious Springfield/Lorton area elementary students, who several years ago formed their own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the goal of “bringing happiness to ourselves and others by helping those in need in the United States and around the world.”

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Sharing with Neighbors During Ramadan

Project Food Boost helps families in need in Herndon area.

For the tenth year in a row, the Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH) in Herndon is organizing a food distribution event to correspond with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Silver Line: A Welcome Newcomer to Neighborhood

Reston, Herndon residents, community leaders reflect on upcoming opening of Silver Line.

Just how long have the residents of Reston and Herndon been waiting for their own rail connection to the Greater Washington Metro system?

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Reston Ready For Summer Fun

The endless possibilities for summertime entertainment in Reston.

After a long, cold and snow shoveling-filled winter and a wet and windy spring, Restonians and their neighbors are ready for some summer fun! The endless possibilities for summertime entertainment in Reston are even on the international radar. Sven Malikson comes every year from Norway to visit his brother who works for a local IT company. “Of course I come in the summer,” said Malikson.

Some Good News and a Lot of Uncertainty

Realtors discuss the mortgage market at finance summit.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) hosted Finance Summit 2014 at their Fairfax Headquarters on Wednesday, May 21. The event brought together a panel of speakers with an impressive collection of credentials and expertise. Moderator Ken Harney’s “Nation’s Housing” column is nationally syndicated. Harney is also a member of the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council, an author and commentator on real estate and mortgage issues, and the host of CNBC’s “Real Estate Magazine” weekly television program.

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Giving Circle of Hope Honors 2013 Nonprofit Partners

Connections for Hope Partnership of Herndon receives first ever Impact Grant Award of $25,000.

Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston was the venue on May 14 for the Giving Circle of Hope’s annual gathering to showcase the nonprofit partners to whom the organization’s members have chosen to award grants for the coming year. Each fall, eligible members of the Circle – persons who have contributed at least $1 per day for the year to the Grant Fund – review applications and vote to award grants for specific projects that help people in need in Northern Virginia.

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A Reston Retrospective

Stories and thoughts by Reston residents as the community turns 50.

Usually, when you ask a number of people to share their thoughts and opinions on any subject, you get as many different answers as the numbers polled. In asking a rather random selection of residents for their thoughts as Reston celebrates its 50th anniversary, coincidentally with the 100th birthday of founder Robert E. Simon, you do get some interestingly different perspectives, but you get an uncanny commonality in their musings, as well. Regardless of where in Reston our commentators reside, the descriptors of "community," "beauty," "amenities," "something for everyone," "a town for all ages," and "protect our core values" were mentioned by all – and more than once during each Reston retrospective conversation.

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Oak Hill Elementary Gets Energized By Einstein

Mark Spiegel presents Einstein Alive!

How do you get a cafeteria full of kids wildly engrossed in and energized about some pretty complex scientific subject matters? You call in Albert Einstein to explain and demonstrate - that’s how. OK. Not the Albert Einstein, of course. But Marc Spiegel’s performance of Einstein Alive! did the trick.

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Great Falls Citizens Association Talks Ticks and Trails

Town Hall Meeting addresses ‘Deer Management’ and the future of ‘Trails, Paths and Sidewalks’ in the village.

Braving frigid gusts of wind that left some of them without power at home, residents came out in force for the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) Town Hall Meeting on the night of Wednesday, March 12. The agenda consisted of only two topics – "Deer Management" and the future of "Trails, Paths and Sidewalks" in the village, but there was enough material and discussion to fill the three hours allotted.

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Greater Washington Dance Center Brings a Fresh Perspective to Reston

Gretchen Vogelzang, founder and owner of the Greater Washington Dance Center (GWDC) in Reston will be the first to tell you that if you are looking for a studio where your child will be prepped to participate in elaborate performances for every season, then her place is probably not the one for you and yours.

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Vienna Honors ‘Mayor Jane’

Hundreds bid farewell to Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman.

"A life defined by faith, family and friends," was how Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. Peter James of the Vienna Presbyterian Church (VPC) described long-time Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman at the services to honor her life and memorialize her passing. With an estimated 600 in attendance, by thirty minutes prior to the start of the 2 p.m. service on Friday afternoon, Feb. 28, the lower level of the VPC Chapel at 124 Park St. NE in Vienna was already full and those still arriving began filling in the upper galleries. The state flag was ordered at half-mast in the state capital on Friday, as well as at public buildings in Vienna, Fairfax City and around the county. Vienna Town offices closed at 1 p.m. to allow staff to attend and offer their personal farewells to the much-loved mayor.

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Crowds Enjoy Reston Ice Rink

The Ice Skating Pavilion in Reston Town Center is a hot destination.

The temperature was holding pretty steady in the lower 30s, there was ice off the rink as well as on it, and the occasional snow flurry drifted about Reston Town Center on Saturday, but none of those potential obstacles kept the Ice Skating Pavilion from being plenty packed. Although there were a few skaters with obvious skills making the rounds, it seemed that the majority were more suited to the novice category, judging by the numbers of flailing arms, "derriere skaters" and the amount of time the staff spent helping would-be Apolo Ohnos and Ashley Wagners regain their skates and their balance. It was also pretty obvious that no matter what level of expertise each skater brought to the arena, everybody was having fun.

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Painters Unite to Make Friday the 13th Someone’s Lucky Day

Friday, Dec. 13 was anything but unlucky for one Reston family, tenants in one of the 53 townhouses owned by Cornerstones Housing Corporation in Reston, Herndon and Centreville, that are rented at affordable rates to persons earning half or less than the area’s median income.

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Retiring Flags – Respectfully

Eagle Scout project retires American flags in Herndon.

We’ve all seen images of the American Flag being burned in protest both here and abroad, but did you know that burning the Flag is also done when it is "retired" after being deemed unserviceable? And that it is done so in a ceremony marked with respect and honor?

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Mario Rubio Sworn In as Chairman

Realtors Association holds installation ceremony for new board.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NCAR) installed their 2014 Board on Dec. 5 at a ceremony held at the association’s Fairfax headquarters. Out-going Chairman Jon Wolford of McEnearney Associates hosted the proceedings, which included a number of awards and recognitions in addition to the official swearing in of the new officers.

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Community Creates Season of Giving

Organizations and individuals step to transform ‘The Holiday Season’ into ‘The Season of Giving.’

Thursday, Thanksgiving, traditionally marks the beginning of "The Holiday Season." The Christmas Shopping Derby will kick off at midnight for many of the big retailers, and the frantic rush of decorating, card sending, gift buying, wrapping, parties, baking, cooking, preparing for visitors or preparing to travel shifts into high gear.

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Holocaust Survivors Honored at Mason

Jewish Student Association hosts ‘Expressions of the Holocaust: a Dinner Honoring Survivors.’

On Nov. 13, George Mason University’s Jewish student association, Mason Hillel, organized and hosted “Expressions of the Holocaust: a Dinner Honoring Survivors.” The date for the event was chosen with care – just days after the 75th anniversary of the Nov. 9 -10 Kristallnacht – “Night of Broken Glass.”

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For Whom The [School] Bell Tolls

School district works toward later start times for high schools.

Would you send your teenagers to school or put them behind the wheel after allowing them to down two or three alcoholic beverages?

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Voters ‘Slow and Steady’ at Reston Polls

At Dogwood Elementary: baked goods, coffee, and left over Halloween candy was on offer to reward the good citizenship.

"No big rush. Just a strong, steady stream." That’s how Craig Dubois described the scene at Armstrong Elementary on Lake Newport Road in Reston as he offered sample ballots – with a Democratic twist - to arriving voters.

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Reston Rink Ready for Skaters, Fundraiser for Character Counts Coalition

Mother Nature did not cooperate with the planned Reston Town Center Skating Rink season opener this weekend.

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Herndon Hits the Polls

Chilly temperatures didn’t stop Nikki Malabressi from walking about a half mile to her polling place at Herndon High School (HHS).

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All Smiles at Burke Lake

Kids Sending Smiles organizes 5K run to fight breast cancer.

Kids Sending Smiles (KSS), the 501c3 non-profit established and run by a group of elementary school girls from the Springfield and Alexandria areas, successfully completed their most ambitious charitable event to date on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Burke Lake Park.

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Forum Highlights Domestic Violence

Cook holds gathering to “Stop the Silence—End the Violence.”

Oct. 17. The back patio at Kilroy’s Restaurant and Sports Bar on Port Royal Road in Springfield was the scene of a gathering described by host Fairfax County Supervisor John C. Cook (R- Braddock), as “part of an effort to shine the light on the oft-hidden and denied blight on our families … of domestic violence.” Cook was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in February to be their liaison to the Domestic Violence Prevention, Policy and Coordinating Council. “The name may be a mouthful,” admitted Cook in an interview during the event, “but the people you need to get things done are all right in the room,” he said. “This group gets things done.”

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'Waltzing to Vienna’ With McLean Orchestra

McLean Orchestra announces “Waltzing to Vienna” gala plans.

The halls came alive with the sound of music—just a slight variation on the famous Von Trapp family story theme—when soprano Melissa Mino sang that song for the sponsors, patrons and friends of the McLean Orchestra on Sunday afternoon. The event, hosted by Nicholas Kalis and his fiancé Nina Goodarzian at their home in McLean, was appropriately titled “Waltzing to Vienna” since the orchestra’s annual gala fundraiser will be held at the Embassy of Austria on April 26, 2014. Emcee, Past President and Advisor to the President of the Board Dr. Wayne Sharp made the formal announcement as guests enjoyed Austrian wines and snacks made by Chef Rachel Brosh of Petite! Catering.

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Kids Sending Smiles Around the World

Youth non-profit to hold 5K Run/Walk for Breast Cancer at Burke Lake Park.

The Court of the 2013 Lee District Lady Fairfax was in session, but there were no royal activities underway. Instead, 11-year-old Samantha Underwood and her friends were busy reminiscing about past events and planning future ones for Kids Sending Smiles (KSS)—the charitable organization they established when a friend of Philippine ancestry told Samantha about the conditions and the poverty, especially among young girls, in the native country of her family.

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Walking to End Alzheimer’s

Reston Town Center Walk draws 1,200-plus participants.

Reston Town Center looked like it was being wrapped in a rainbow as the 1,200-plus participants in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s wound their way through the streets, dressed in a variety of colorful team t-shirts and carrying whirly-wind paper flowers with the names of afflicted loved ones written on the petals. Some 600 communities across the country have joined in the national effort to raise funds and awareness of this devastating disease, and the Alzheimer’s Association’s local National Capital Area Chapter President Susan Kudla Finn reported that more than 112 walks were held just this weekend alone, in addition to the Reston walk Sunday, Sept. 29.

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McAuliffe, Cuccinelli Highlight Small Business Summit

Gubernatorial candidates speak at the Mason Inn & Conference Center.

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli were the keynote speakers at the fourth annual Virginia Small Business Partnership (VASBP) Summit, hosted by Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies LLC at The Mason Inn in Fairfax on Friday, Sept. 20. “We are thrilled to have them join us,” said Paul A. Miller, chairman of the VASBP.

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Celebrating Women’s Equality

Women’s Equality Day celebrated at Workhouse Arts Center.

Did you know that the Commonwealth of Virginia did not ratify the 19th Amendment—giving women the right to vote—until Feb. 21, 1952? Or that American suffragists were the first people to ever picket in front of the White House? Are the names of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns as familiar as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony?

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Day One at Forestville

Forestville Elementary’s welcome back to school worthy of a gold star.

Miss Genevieve Roberson is obviously ready to start her academic career as a first grader at Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls. No tears today from this young lady on the first day of the new school year. “She actually cried when we left the open house last Thursday,” said mom Maria Roberson. “She thought it was great. She wanted to stay at school then.”

‘Regionality’ of Transportation Projects Questioned

Transportation Authority approves FY2014 Project List.

“Tonight we acted to address one of the greatest threats to our region: Congestion.” So spoke Marty Nohe, chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) and Coles District supervisor for Prince William County. Despite numerous calls to slow down the process by speakers at the public hearing before the Authority, on Wednesday, July 24, the NVTA approved the FY2014 proposed regional multimodal project list as presented and vetted by the NVTA’s Project Implementation Working Group (PIWG) headed by Authority member (and Arlington County Board Member) Christopher Zimmerman.

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Sharing in Ramadan

9th annual Ramadan Herndon Without Hunger aids locals in need.

The Stock Market has been posting record highs. Homes in the local market have been selling in less than two weeks, sometimes for more than asking price—rising numbers that constantly make the news, all while another less publicized statistic about our area has also risen: the number of families in need, like those who attend the Herndon Without Hunger (HWH) food distribution that takes place during the holy month of Ramadan.

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‘Regionality’ of Transportation Projects Questioned

Transportation Authority approves FY2014 Project List.

“Tonight we acted to address one of the greatest threats to our region: Congestion.” So spoke Marty Nohe, chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) and Coles District supervisor for Prince William County.

McLean Orchestra Proves ‘Instrumental to Business’

When your audience expresses their wild enthusiasm, what else can you do but give them an encore?

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Paving ‘Virginia’s Road to the Future’

Transportation Authority solicits public input on first year of proposed projects.

City Hall in the City of Fairfax was the location of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) June 20 Open House and Public Hearing, seeking public opinion on proposed regional transportation projects. The Authority was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 2002 to provide a common voice for all Northern Virginia stakeholders on transportation and related issues. The Authority is made up of representatives from the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park, and one representative for the towns of Herndon, Leesburg, Purcellville, Dumfries and Vienna. The group also includes several members of the Virginia Assembly, governor appointees and non-voting representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

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Sunrise Seniors Welcome Visitors For Open House

Sunrise Senior Living’s Director of Sales Valerie Parker, and Sales Assistant Shelley Jennings are always pleased to show off the facility at Fair Oaks on Joseph Siewick Drive in Fairfax.

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From Herndon to Sierra Leone

Floris United Methodist Church leads student service trip.

Emily Lopynski started her Pen Pal relationship with Afiju, a boy of about the same age from the Child Rescue Centre in Bo, Sierra Leone, when she was in the third grade. Lopynski, a Herndon resident, just finished her freshman year at William and Mary College. She and Afiju are still in touch. In fact, their communication over the years has grown. “It was so wonderful when he got access to Facebook,” Lopynski said. “We could really keep up with each other and have a real conversation.” A vast improvement, considering that for most of the time since the two first “met,” their friendship relied on the exchange of letters that sometimes took as long as five months from the writing of one to the reading by the other.

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‘We Are the World’ at Dranesville Elementary

International Night features world music, dance, food and exhibits.

For the 11th time, the halls were alive with the sound of music at Dranesville Elementary’s International Night Program on Friday, April 26, from 7 until after 9 p.m. The cafeteria was entertainment central. After Principal Kathy Manoatl got things started, the evening began with five first grade classes delighting the assembly with their individual performances of songs from Russia, Latin America, Germany, Indonesia and France.

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McLean Orchestra Hosts ‘Midnight in Paris’

Orchestra offers its final “Season of Imagination” concert on May 4.

Trust people who wear formal attire as their uniform, and those who direct and administer their efforts, to know how to put on a gala. Sunday, April 21, was the night of the McLean Orchestra’s annual fundraiser held at the Hilton Tysons Corner. Themed “Midnight in Paris” from reception start through a dinner that included a live auction, acknowledgements and awards, and finally dancing to the tunes of Ed Witles The Elegant DJ, the black-tie evening was as well-arranged, conducted and received as any of the musical performances for which the orchestra is known.

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Collecting for Those in Need

GMU student coordinates care campaign for domestic abuse shelter residents.

Joy Tharrington, a senior psychology major at George Mason University (GMU) and starting forward on their women’s basketball team, has been coordinating an effort with her teammates and members of the track and field teams to collect small, but comfort-providing items for the women and children being protected at Artemis House, the county’s only crisis domestic violence shelter, run by Shelter House, Inc.

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Robinson Students Make the Cut for Caring

26 Acts of Kindness campaign continues.

April 1st marked the beginning of Robinson Secondary School’s “26 Acts of Kindness”—a tribute to the 26 children and adults who were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December in Newtown, Conn. The Student Government Association (SGA) pulled out all the stops to make this “pay it forward” campaign a success, even providing t-shirts with space on the back for supporters to fill in each act of kindness performed, producing a promotional video that was uploaded to YouTube, and even establishing a Twitter site where do-gooders could post what good deeds they had done.

Reston Little Leaguers Kick Off New Season

Parade marks Opening Day.

Although there was no official headcount, judging by the size of the crowds it’s just possible that all 692 registered players, and their moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents all turned out for the 20th Annual Reston Little League (RLL) Opening Day Parade through Reston Town Center.

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Robinson Students Commit to 26 Acts of Kindness

The number 26 is in honor of the 20 students and six staffers killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Even if only 10 percent of Robinson Secondary School’s almost four thousand students accept the Student Government Association (SGA)’s 26 Acts of Kindness Challenge during the month of April, that would still mean 10,400 random acts of kindness and courtesy added to the world. Not a bad achievement.

A Journey of Discovery

Mary Jo Smrekar of Reston and Sue Ries Lamb of Alexandria facilitate The Women’s Collaborative.

“Join With Us in Discovery.” That’s the header on the invitation for the 2013 Women’s Collaborative, a “journey of discovery” that takes place in three four-day sessions at Meadowkirk Retreat and Conference Center in Middleburg. The first session takes place Thursday, May 30, through Sunday, June 2; the second takes place in August; and the last is in October.

Jewish-Muslim Passover Seder Commemoration

Local multi-religious celebrations and interfaith dialogue inspire communities nationwide.

With one foot in Fairfax County and the other in Loudoun, (yes, they needed permits from both counties during construction) the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling couldn’t have been a better choice of venue for an interfaith commemoration of Passover, the ancient Jewish holiday celebrating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The building, with its cross-counties placement, symbolizes the bridge building that took place on Saturday, March 30, when members of the ADAMS Center co-sponsored a Passover Seder with the Washington Area Jews for Jewish-Muslim Understanding, led by Andrea Barron. Sitting side-by-side in the small meeting room were Jews and Muslims as well as Christian pastors from Falls Church and Reston.

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Muslim Women Encouraged to Explore STEM

Six women share their success story at the Lorton Library.

The Nubian Benevolence Association was the official sponsor for the Muslim Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) presentation at the Lorton Community Library on Saturday, March 23, but there was little doubt that Hajjar Ahmed, daughter of the organization’s co-Founder Hossam Ahmed, was the driving force behind the event.

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