On April 1, NOVA SySTEMic Solutions hosted NOVA STEM Day at the Alexandria Campus. Volunteers, local educators and NOVA faculty and staff taught and entertained community students of all ages with various workshops, activities, games and presentations involving science, technology, engineering, mathematics and art.
STEM Education Coordinator Bekkah Lampe said it is important to get students of all ages interested in STEM and a place to learn about careers and opportunities in these fields, especially in the Northern Virginia area.
“There are a lot of careers in the STEM field in this area, so it’s important for NOVA and SySTEMic Solutions to connect with the community and inform them about the opportunities here at NOVA and introduce them to these opportunities.”
More than 400 people pre-registered for the event, and a number of volunteers helped organize the different stations arranged throughout the Bisdorf Building. Volunteers included teachers from Fairfax County Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools, NOVA faculty and staff and community members. Alexandria Campus Provost Annette Haggray also volunteered her time at the registration table.
Activities included a robotics section where students had the opportunity to learn and play with robots. The Alexandria Campus Library staff set up two stations to discuss their partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in an effort to save and restore the bay which has lost a large amount of its underwater grasses and wetlands.
NOVA’s Automotive Program also set up a station to discuss the different functions of an automobile and how technology and computers play a huge part in the automotive industry today. Using virtual reality technology, students also had a hands-on learning experience with automotive welding.
Other activities included a section where students could learn about NOVA dual enrollment, drones, chemistry, nonverbal communication in criminal investigations and physics. Live animation and origami rounded out the day presenting the A for art in what is now referred to as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing Stacy Slaten and her art students helped students create origami butterflies and they installed the artwork in the library.
Sponsors and partners for this event included Microsoft, Arlington Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools, CoderDojo NOVA and Fairfax County Public Schools. SySTEMic Solutions arranged for popular food trucks Borinquen Lunch Box, The Big Cheese and Captain Cookie and the Milkman to provide lunch options for participants.