College PictureBernice Colyandro, previous recipient of the Cameron and Virginia Dye Scholarship from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, has been inspired to give back to her community.  She shared her story with the Foundation.

Bernice Colyandro grew up in Arlington, Virginia and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology.  While pursuing her degree, she was an active member of the Chi Omega Fraternity and supported its alliance with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  For this alliance, she volunteered her time and raised money through various fund raising events at Virginia Tech. 

Since graduation she has spent the last ten years working in Washington D.C. as a Software Engineer for SRA International, Inc. and currently as a Sr. Systems Engineer for Esri.  Bernice is eternally grateful for receiving the Cameron and Virginia Dye scholarship.  This scholarship enabled her to leave college debt free which gave her freedom and choice while starting out as a young woman in computer engineering.

Bernice’s lifelong commitment to community service began at an early age.  At the age of 7, she would accompany her grandmother to nursingDog Picture homes for the Pets on Wheels program.  This experience fostered a love for helping others and Bernice went onto volunteer for feeding the homeless, city graffiti cleanup projects, and volunteering for the Red Cross.  In 1998, Bernice became the president of the National Honor Society at Yorktown High School.  Then in 1999, she applied and was awarded her scholarship.

The scholarship award continues to be both meaningful and symbolic for Bernice.  It acts as a guide in her life and career to continue to stay devoted to doing her best and serving the community. She dreams of one day being able to create a scholarship and give back to future generations of high school seniors just like Cameron and Virginia Dye. 

Bernice currently lives outside of Washington D.C with her husband and young daughter.