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Every Student Has a Story: 2016 NRCC graduate profiles

May 16 2016

This is an archived article!

This article was published on May 16 2016 and was archived on May 17 2017. The information below may be outdated or inaccurate.


Daniel Chavez and Natalie Henderson graduated with diplomas in automotive analysis and repair at New River Community College on May 13, but how each got into the field is a completely different story.

Chavez has always liked cars. He says, "Since I was little, working on cars has been something I liked to do." A 2014 graduate of Galax High School, Chavez says he came to New River to train for a career in the automotive industry. With New River having the closest program to his home, he enrolled but he soon found that the convenience of location wasn't the best reason to go to NRCC. "I like the way they teach," he says. "The professors' knowledge is something you won't find at some other schools."

Henderson's trouble with her own car was inspiration for her career choice. She had a problem with her gear shift and after researching on Google and You-Tube videos she repaired her transmission range sensor. "Fixing my own car sparked my interest as something I could enjoy as a career," she said. A 2010 graduate of Blacksburg High School, she agreed with her classmate about New River's automotive instructors. "Their shared experience working in so many different aspects of the automotive industry makes learning easier than only teaching out of a book," she added.

The only female graduate of the automotive program this year, Henderson joins a handful of other females to graduate in this program in the past five years. From her experience at New River, she says she doesn't see working in a predominately male field as a challenge.

Both Chavez and Henderson are employed. He has worked for Blue Ridge Tire and Automotive in Galax for about a year. She started a job about a month ago with Shelor Motor Mile in Christiansburg.

"These two individuals represent the future of the automotive industry and are typical of what the industry demands of technicians," says Steven Denis, associate professor of automotive technology.

They both will leave New River with a diploma in automotive analysis and repair and certifications from MACS (Mobile Air Conditioning Society) and ASE (student Automotive Service Excellence). They also were named the two outstanding students in automotive analysis and repair at the college's President's Awards ceremony this spring.

And even though they are finishing their studies at New River, they both agree because of the ever-changing automotive industry, they will continually need to learn more. They looked at each other shaking their heads in agreement when Henderson added, "Training's never done!"

# # #


There are times in life when one can reflect on the past and look toward the future; Noah Magnifico did just that a few years ago. Like everyone else who is motivated, he wanted to complete a few life tasks that were pushed aside in the process. "It was time to re-do a few things, complete a few things and tie up some loose ends," he said. Some of those things were: finish the home repair projects on the "fixer-upper" house he has been living in for 10 years, visit some amazing places and finish a college degree that he hadn't completed.

A few years ago, he re-entered New River Community College to study engineering design. Only those closest to him knew where he was spending his days; he didn't even tell his family. "I was going back to school to appease my Dad, a long-time professional in education," Magnifico said. After a year being immersed in the program at NRCC, he realized that he was no longer doing it for his father. He was doing it for himself. "When I knew I was going to finish, it was time to finally tell my parents," he added. Already proud of his accomplishments, Noah's parents were very happy to hear the news. His neighbors and people in the community may first find out when they read this story. He s

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