STEM Day Letter from Senator Mark Warner

NOVA STEM Day at the Alexandria Campus a had a special visit from Senator Mark Warner’s Office on Saturday Dec 7th in recognition of our efforts in helping develop and inspire the next generation of STEM workforce. Here’s the letter in full:

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to extend my warmest greetings to all who are gathered for NOVA SySTEMic’s NOVA STEM Day on the Alexandria Campus.

It is vital to the future prosperity of our Nation that our young people are equipped with skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Many high-paying in-demand jobs require this type of skill set, and having a workforce trained in these areas will enable the United States to remain competitive with other nations. This event plays an important part in that skill development as it encourages students to become interested in these subject areas through fun, hands-on exhibits and workshops. I commend NOVA SySTEMic for hosting such an important event for families in Northern Virginia.

I send my best wishes for an exciting and informative event.


Mark R. Warner
United States Senator

Here’s a link to our STEM Day Photo Gallery

IET Employee Spotlights – Nov 2019

The IET employee spotlight this month falls on Margaret Leary, Ph.D., Director of the CAE National Resource Center, and Richard Sewell, our new Fab Lab Manager.

Margaret Leary, Ph.D.
Program/Campus POC

Dr. Leary has more than 30 years of experience in IT (the most recent 12 in cybersecurity) and is a Senior Security Policy Advisor to government agencies in the Washington, D.C., area. She is the Cybersecurity Program Head for NOVA and teaches a variety of cybersecurity courses at the Alexandria Campus. Dr. Leary is a member of the National Cyberwatch Center Leadership team, where she serves as the Director of Curriculum, advocating for community college cybersecurity programs. She is also a member of Infragard, ISSA-NOVA and the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu.

Dr. Leary can be reached at

Richard Sewell
Fab Lab Manager

If Martha Stewart and MacGyver had a baby, that baby would be Richard. Born with DIY DNA, Richard’s childhood hobbies included sewing, knitting, model making, Lego building, and balsa wood constructing. After earning a Master’s degree in Fine Art with experience in traditional and experimental media, Richard began his career teaching full-time at Clemson University before moving to Mississippi State University.
In 2003 Richard left academia and opened The Proper Carpenter, a custom furniture and product design company in Fairfax, VA. After 15 successful years of working with clients such as The White House Historical Association, OMDigital, and National Geographic, Richard closed the shop and moved to Raleigh, NC to become the Creative Director of Kalisher, an agency of more than 100 artists, eccentrics, and engineers who create, commission and manufacture comprehensive art collections for properties worldwide.
Richard is thrilled to be back in VA and back teaching! When he isn’t building robots or model making in the lab, he’s building robots and model making for his 4yo daughter, playing drums, cooking with his wife, and cycling on all the local trails.

Richard can be reached at

Volunteer/Sponsor Opportunities for Signature Event!


Night at the Museum (NATM) is a 2-day VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) Signature Event at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. It is a high level event that has been called “the toughest in the nation to win.” There are excellent sponsorship and volunteer opportunities for this event.

60+ high school teams from around the country will compete for top honors and one of three VEX World Championship qualifying spots! Teams qualify for this event by winning the Excellence, Design, or Robot Skills awards or as Tournament Champions in regional competitions. Click here for our NATM20 promo video

Sponsorship Opportunities
Through financial sponsorship, you make it possible for us to support the 500+ VEX teams in Virginia. Your support keeps our event partner and volunteer training free to all, reduces entry fees for signature events like NATM20, stocks 3 competition trailers for use throughout the region, and supports community teams that don’t have a local school or organization to host them. Companies often provide prizes with tournament awards and giveaways for each participant such as flash drives or power packs.

Sponsor levels for NATM20
$10K Signature Champion – not available
$5K Competition Advocate
$2.5K Skills Developer
$1K Giveaway Provider

To sponsor please contact Josh Labrie at (703) 530-2829 or


The biggest volunteer needs for a successful event are Judges, Referees, Volunteers, and Field Resetters. No advance training is necessary (except for Referees). Volunteers receive meals, snacks, t-shirt and wristband. Training is on-site for most positions.

Click here to register to volunteer at NATM20 or contact Jose Algarin at (787) 466-6007 or

Fab Lab Opening in January!

NOVA’s NEW Fab Lab will be opening January 13th, 2020! A Grand Opening Week is being planned with a host of activities for students, staff, and community members!

About The Lab:

The Fab Lab will support NOVA’s A.A.S. in Engineering Technology with a focus on mechatronics and “Smart Factories.”  The technology available include mechatronics systems, 3D printers, 3D scanner, vinyl printer/cutters, plastic thermoforming machine, laser engraver, CNC wire bender, computerized sewing machines, full wood shop with CNC router, and various design software.

The Fab Lab Makerspace portion of the lab will be hosting events, workshops, and activities open to K12 students, community members, and college students and staff.  This will allow for STEM outreach and a unique venue where groups and individuals can use the technology to design, build, and collaborate.

For more information and to register for Fab Lab programs, contact the Fab Lab Coordinator, Lance Lacey, at or via phone at (703) 530-3504. Also, more information is available at

Click Here for Opening Week Schedule


Hands-on STEM fun for the entire family, from kindergarten to high school and beyond! Don’t miss the NOVA STEM Day at the Alexandria Campus on Saturday, Dec 7 from 10am to 3pm. This event is FREE, open to the public, and includes a variety of physical and hands-on activities for students of all ages.

RSVP here

NOVA Alexandria Campus
5000 Dawes Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22311

We need Volunteers!
We have many volunteer opportunities for NOVA faculty, staff, and students. Volunteers are the backbone to a successful event and will receive lunch vouchers and a NOVA STEM Day T-Shirt.
Click here for Volunteer Sign Up

Want to be an exhibitor? 
Contact Liz Coffey


NOVA Systemic – STEM Zone
Learn about programming and robotics using VEX, Sphero, Osmo platforms and more!

A.I. Powered Bionic Arm
Learn about 3D printed, A.I. integrated prosthetics.

STEM Mayhem – Alka-Seltzer Rockets
Launch a rocket powered by chemical reactions!

NOVA Automotive
Hands-on activities related to automotive technology

NOVA Biology – Lights, Camera, Anatomage
Have you ever wondered what your body looks like on the inside?? If your answer is yes, then come explore the wonders of the human body with us as we dissect a DIGITAL HUMAN CADAVER! Get an up close & personal look at your favorite body systems as they rotate in 3 dimensions. No gloves or tools are necessary to be a surgeon here…just bring your curiosity & questions.

NOVA Chemistry – Chemistry in the World
Hands-on demonstrations of chemistry at work in the world, including examples of acid-base reactions and indicators, magnetism, hydrophobicity, density, and chromatography.

American Society of Naval Engineers – FLEET
Come try the FLEET video game and learn how to use video games to teach STEAM concepts and problem solving.

NOVA Geology
Interactive experiments and games introducing visitors to common geological topics including, a stream table experiment, rock identification exercise, and paleontology exhibits.

Global Inheritance – Leading Ladies
How to find STEM in every job.

Gryphon Robotics
Come see a demonstration of a 120lb robot built for the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition season.

Nobel Explorers STEM Camp
Learn about solving mazes in the zone, making and printing your own mazes, negotiation and trust games, Scratch 3.0 programming, and AI Chatbot.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision
Learn about solving mazes in the zone, making and printing your own mazes, negotiation and trust games, Scratch 3.0 programming, and AI Chatbot.

NOVA – Virtual Reality & Maker Space
Participants will experience real lifelike environment as they will be taken for a “ride” using Google Earth, enter a human body and take a close look at human organs in working conditions and more.

Fun with Math!

NOVA 38th in National Cyber Power Rankings!

NOVA was recognized as the 38th top school in the nation during the National Cyber League (NCL) Spring 2019 season competition, beating every other college/university in Virginia. 5,026 students from 419 schools competed in the competition. These rankings represent the ability of students from these schools to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform. Students had to identify hackers from forensic data, pentest & audit vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more. Schools are ranked based on their top team performance, their top student’s individual performance, and the aggregate individual performance of their students.

Here are the specific national stats:

  • NOVA ranked 38thin the overall competition
  • NOVA ranked 38thin the team competition
  • NOVA ranked 3rdin the number of participates
  • NOVA ranked 164thin the individuals competitions

In the Eastern division of the competition:

  • NOVA ranked 18thin the overall competition
  • NOVA ranked 16thin the team competition
  • NOVA ranked 2ndin the number of participates
  • NOVA ranked 65thin the individuals competitions

Out of the Centers of Academic Excellence colleges/universities:

  • NOVA ranked 20thin the overall competition
  • NOVA ranked 21stin the team competition
  • NOVA ranked 2ndin the number of participates
  • NOVA ranked 52ndin the individuals competitions

NOVA’s students couldn’t have done it without the stellar aid of AllCyber’s Director of Training, Bishnu Karki, who is the go-to person for NOVA students competing in Cyber Competitions.

Offical link to ranks and statistics cited:

CTE Career Exploration Fairs – Nov 19, 22

Check out what NOVA’s CTE programs can do for your future! NOVA is hosting three Career Exploration Fairs for high school and college students to explore CTE Programs on Tuesday Nov 19 at the AN campus and Friday Nov 22 at the WO campus. Fairs will include an overview of programs of study, student services, and enrollment. To sign up for a Career Exploration Fair go to

There is also a Career Fair scheduled for Spring 2020 at Loudoun Campus, More information will be available closer to the date. Questions? Contact STEM Coordinator Tiffanie Rosier at

Teacher Professional Development Update

NOVA SySTEMic launched its 2019-2020 series of professional development sessions for middle and high school teachers on October 3rd at NOVA’s Pender campus in Fairfax. Over 50 teachers from Alexandria City, Manassas Park City, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William school districts attended a full day of hands-on technical training in cybersecurity, programming, or robotics. Teachers became students for the day as they learned about coding and using Arduino, played with VEX robotics systems, and explored advanced topics in cybersecurity. Teachers will continue their training with additional full-day professional development throughout the 2019-2020 school year, with the next session on November 13th.

Check out some of our brief social media video posts from the Oct 3rd workshops:
Teacher Endorsement