STEMZone at YFT Country Fair Oct 5

NOVA SySTEMic is returning to Youth for Tomorrow’s Country Fair & Auctions in Bristow to exhibit the STEMzone!

What is the STEMZone?
The STEMZone is NOVA SySTEMic’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Expo at Youth for Tomorrow’s Country Fair & Auctions. The STEMZone includes exciting hands-on activities such as maker spaces, robotics, cybersecurity, coding, 3D printers, laser cutters, stomp rockets and more!

When and Where?
Saturday October 5th 10am – 5pm
Country Fair & Auctions
Youth for Tomorrow Campus
11835 Hazel Circle Drive
Bristow, VA 20136

We Need Volunteers:
Volunteers will help run various STEM stations in our 60×90 STEMZone tent. We will train you on-site to aid and guide Elementary and Middle School students who will be participating in STEMZone hands-on activities. Besides having a great time education and inspiring students, you’ll also receive a free lunch and T-shirt.
Volunteer Shift 1: 9:30am to 1:30pm
Volunteer Shift 2: 1:30pm to 6:00pm
80 slots available/40 per shift
Sign up at

Hands-On Activities at the STEMZone

OSMO – Coding with iPad (ages 5+)
Use an iPad and the OSMO kit to learn coding. The kit uses physical representation of coding to help Awbie navigate in a self-paced app.

Sphero – Coding with iPad (ages 8+)
Use an iPad and the SPRK+ sphere robot to learn coding. The kit uses an app to drive or code the robot to navigate a maze.

Arduino – Build a stoplight (ages 10+)
The activity consist of assembling an electronic circuit around the Arduino to make a functioning stoplight.

Stomp Rockets – Build and launch a paper rocket (ages 3+)
Use paper to build a rocket with fins and nosecone. Stomp the launcher and see your rocket take flight.

Cubelets – Modular robotics (ages 4+)
Construct robots by snapping the robot blocks together to create unique robots. No coding or wiring required.

Hands-On Demos at the STEMZone

VEX Maze challenge – Drive a VEX clawbot through a maze (ages 7+)
Drive a VEX metal robot through a maze and flip caps and place balls on the field. Park the robot on a platform at the end.

VEX IQ Level Up – Play the VEX IQ challenge game (any ages)
Drive a plastic robot on a field moving and stacking hubs and try to make the robot hang from a horizontal bar.

 Laser Engraver – Get your own keychain made (all ages) 
The laser engraver will engrave and cut a keychain for you on the spot.

CAD – Test out making 3D designs (ages 6+)
Use Tinkercad or Autodesk Inventor to design 3D objects by grouping together shapes to create an object.

3D Printing – Print 3D objects (any ages)
Demos of multiple 3D printers and how a 3D object gets printed.

Arduino – Project display (any ages)
See multiple starter and advanced projects made up by using an Arduino.

VEX Conveyor – See how assembly line works (any ages)
See a small scale mockup of an assembly line and learn how it works.

Locktronics – Electronics trainer (ages 6+)
Learn electronics in a safe and fun way!

Virtual Simulator – Forklift (any ages)
Learn how to operate a forklift using a virtual reality simulator.

More info about the Country Fair & Auctions at:
Admission to Country Fair: $10. Kids 3 and under are free

Scholarship for DCO Students!

Are you a NOVA student in the new Data Center Operations A.A.S program? You could win a $2000 scholarship just for answering the question “Why do you want to work In the Datacenter Business?” The Potomac Chapter of AFCOM (Association For Computer Operations Management) has a scholarship agreement with the NOVA Foundation so that students enrolled in the Engineering Technology: Data Center Operations Specialization, A.A.S. Program will be eligible to apply.

Three scholarships of $2,000 each are being offered to cover tuition and associated fees. Additional eligibility criteria include: financial need, academic standing, and having Manassas or Loudoun listed as your primary campus.

Interested in applying or know someone who is? Click here to complete the general application at the Financial Aid Scholarship Portal.

Application deadline to apply is Oct 11th.

NOVA Career Day Data Center Tour 10-4

NOVA Career Day and Data Center Tour
Digital Realty
October 4th, 2019

Digital Realty is providing a unique and valuable experience to NOVA students to get a behind the scenes tour of its Loudoun Data Center and spend time with industry professionals to learn more about career options available in this growing industry.  With a footprint in northern Virginia and 200+ properties in 33+ metropolitan areas covering 30+ million rentable square feet, Digital Realty is the leading Global Data Center Real Estate Investment Trust with 2500+ customers globally.

Students must register by September 9 (no late registrations will be accepted).

REGISTRATION – Students must register in Career Connection at for either:

Digital Realty: Career Day and Data Center Tour (WITH BUS TRANSPORTATION)
Space on the bus is limited to 30 so you must RSVP is you want a seat


Digital Realty: Career Day and Data Center Tour (NO TRANSPORTATION)
Students arrive at 9:30am using their own transportation

In Career Connection, look for the Digital Realty events under Programs and Workshops.  Provide your full name as in appears on your government issued photo ID by September 9. All participants will need to present a government issued photo ID that matches their name on the registration list to enter the secure data facility.

Northern Virginia Community College Bus Transportation– space is limited
Address: NOVA Loudoun Campus, 21200 Campus Dr., Sterling, VA 20164
(location details will be provided to those registered for the bus)

Digital Realty Career Day & Data Center Tour Location – students arrive on their own
Address: Digital Realty – Building G, 43940 Digital Loudoun Plaza, Ashburn, VA 20147


8:30 Bus arrives at NOVA Community College
9:00 Bus departs NOVA Community College for Digital Realty Loudoun I/II campus
9:30 Bus arrives at Digital Realty @ Building G
9:30-9:50 Security, check-in, name badges
09:50-10:00 Brief Welcome and outline rules for the tour
10:00-10:40 Data Center Tour
10:40-11:40 Career Discussion; panel of speakers from Digital Realty
11:40-11:55 Student Q&A with panel of speakers from Digital Realty
11:55-12:00 Hand out Digital Realty SWAG
12:00-12:50 Lunch; hosted by Digital Realty
1:00 Bus departs for return to NOVA Community College
1:30 Bus arrives back at NOVA Community College

Questions may be directed to


Hands-on STEM fun for the entire family, from kindergarten to high school and beyond! If you want to get your children interested and engaged in STEM, don’t miss the 5th annual NOVA STEM Day at the Loudoun Campus on Saturday, September 28 from 10am to 4pm. With more activities than you can count, we’re about DOING. Come ready to participate! This event is FREE, open to the public, and includes a variety of physical and hands-on activities. Children under age 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is responsible for providing appropriate supervision.

RSVP here

Want to be an exhibitor? 
Contact Liz Coffey


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

Loudoun County Public Library – Makerspace

Academies of Loudoun – UV Light/Slime
Interactive experiment with UV Lighting & Slime

Academies of Loudoun – FRC Robotics Team
Meet FRC Team 5338 and their FRC Robot!

NOVA Loudoun – Bones of the Body
Learn the bones of your body! What properties make up the bones of your body? What microscopic structures the compact of bone? Identify the organic and inorganic components that make bone hard and yet flexible. Examine skeletons, individual bones, coloring activities and more.

Chemical reactions and more!

Adobe Illustrator – Explore your Artistic Potential with Technology
Create characters and activities in Adobe Illustrator!

Vet Tech Dept – A Day in the Life of a Veterinary Technician
Become a Vet Tech by bandaging patients, examining xrays and bones and more!

Loudoun Water – Interactive Watershed Model
Explore the interactive watershed model, water source protection and conservation

Geared UP! – Robot Driving Station with Team Geared UP!

Northern Virginia Community College – Psychology IS a Science
Celebrate the scientific studies of the senses. Learn about sensation, perception and classical conditioning. Taste our treats, check out optical illusion demos, and more!

Russian School of Mathematics – Fun with Math!

NOVA Physics  Hands-on demos with a mini roller coaster, Van der Graff mini-generator and Gyro-effect with a Bicycle wheel

NOVA Programming  Introduction to Visual Programming

Virginia 529  spin the wheel to win prizes

biofeedbackWORKS Check out bio and neurofeedback technology!

Geology – Interactive Geology models and processes

Cyberjutsu Girls Academy (CGA)/Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu – workshops provide a hands-on, fun, and interactive experience in topics such as web design, mobile application development, computer fundamentals, programming and many more!

American Society of Naval Engineers  Students will play the FLEET video game so they are able to explore and master it at home. The game is completely free and a great resource for exploring STEAM and solving problems using the engineering design process.

How much does it cost?
STEM Day is a FREE event with open parking in “B” lots. Follow signs upon arrival.

Who will I learn from?
Our activities will be taught by NOVA faculty and community educators with assistance from college and high school students.

Do I need to pre-register?
Not mandatory, but it does help us plan the logistics of the day. Pre-Register here.

What should I wear?
For safety purposes, no shorts, tank tops, or open-toed shoes are permissible in the science labs. Safety precautions are strictly enforced. Some events will take place outdoors, so monitor weather reports and dress accordingly.

What’s for lunch?
For those who work up an appetite, Uncle Fred’s BBQ Smoke Shack (also serving ice cream) and Mama Lucie’s Kitchen will be on site with a variety of lunch options.

Data Week DC at NOVA

NOVA will be hosting a Data Week DC event on October 2nd at the Loudoun campus from 1pm to 5pm. This is a free event for students, instructors, and professionals interested in Data Science! Attendees will learn about NOVA offerings relating to big data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud, STEM, Workforce Development, and data center operations.

Activities/Topics will include:

Hands-on data visualization exercise/demo (laptops provided)
Utilizing the Cloud for Data Storage
Story Time
Optimized Data Center Tour
Professional Networking

>> Register for Data Week here

General Info about Data Week DC across the region:
Data Week DC will take place October 1-5 at venues all over our region.  During this time, our data community (meet-ups, higher ed, non-profits and corporations) will produce events addressing data science topics of interest to the communities that they serve.  Think of it as a crowd-sourced 5-day conference led by our data community in the spirit of SXSW.  We are still in the early stages of rolling this out, but early indicators are incredibly positive and the coalition is growing quickly.

More info at

Sign Up for Community Robotics Teams!

There is still time to register for Community Robotics Teams for middle and high school students in Manassas, Alexandria, & Loudoun who don’t have a robotics team or program at their school. Registration is due September 13th for the 2019-2020 school year.

We’ll be using the VEX IQ (for beginners) and VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) platforms. VEX IQ is platform that consists of robots assembled from plastic snap-together parts. The programming used is Graphical or Text-based. VRC robots are metal and put together with metal screws and advanced parts. The programming is Text-based.

Our goal with these teams is to introduce kids to STEM and instill in them a quality robotics foundation. On a robotics team, participants learn the design process as well as gaining problem solving and teamwork skills. It’s an excellent gateway into STEM and also teaches the soft skills needed to excel in higher Ed or a professional environment.

To register for Community Robotics Teams, click here

For more info go to and click under the Community Robotics Teams Tab

STEM Camps a Success!

We put on 10 different types of STEM camps in 55 different sessions at 13 locations serving 869 students this summer, inspiring young minds through hands-on engagement in STEM. A few quotes about the camps from parents:

“My daughter said it was the best camp she’s ever been to, and she’s been to so many, that’s truly stunning”

“It was a great experience for my child. I am considering doing more of the camps next summer”

“She loved it! Definitely would recommend it for any student who is interested.”

“Robotics seemed to excite my son to learn about college. I appreciated seeing younger counsellors given leadership roles.”

“My son really enjoyed himself and loved the competition on the last day”

“My child raved about the projects during the camp.”

“Very good value.”

“Instructors were nice and knowledgeable”

“The staff was nice, and the staff taught my kid to code a virtual robot, and build a website on Raspberry pi.”

“My child enjoyed learning how to design, use new software and technology, and seeing the final project.”

“Arduino was excellent. She’s purchased her own and is working on her own projects. Great experience.”

“My child’s favorite thing about the camp was what he learned, and the ability to be able to protect me and my families’ phones and computers.”

“She enjoyed the hands-on activities and the small group setting.”

Our core offering of camps:

Coding – Grade 3-5

STEM Elementary – Grade 4-5

Robotics – VEX IQ – Grade 4-8

STEM Middle School – Grade 6-8

Robotics – VEX 1 – Grade 6-10

Arduino – Grade 7-10

Robotics – VEX 2 – Grade 7-10

Rocketry – Grade 7-12

STEM High School – Grade 9-12

Cybersecurity – Grade 9-12

Be on the lookout to sign up your kids for STEM Camp 20 when registration becomes available in January 2020 at

Thank you Sponsors!

Our STEM Camps engage a lot of students, but we couldn’t do that without our stellar sponsors and equipping educators! For a successful and intrepid summer of STEM camps and for inspiring young minds, massive thanks to: Micron, Verizon Media, Amtek, Aerojet Rocketdyne, SPARK Education Foundation, Cintas, Fairfax County Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools, Falls Church City Public Schools, and Arlington Public Schools.

Faculty Award Spotlight – Babur Kohy

Babur Kohy – George B. Vaughn Leadership Award

Babur is an accomplished cybersecurity educator, researcher, and speaker serving as an Adjunct Professor of Cyber at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). He teaches at the NOVA Loudoun Campus and Reston Technology Center. His passion resides in educating students on secure human behavior, cybersecurity and connecting through conferences, workshops, and networking events. Outside of his academic career, Babur serves as a Cyber Advisor to public/private sectors, volunteers with multiple non-profit organizations, and is the founder of CyTalks, a platform for members of academia, community, and industry to discuss cyber matters. His research includes secure human behaviors, dark web, emerging technologies, organizational cyber resilience, fake news and intelligence manipulation. He holds a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity, Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and is currently pursuing Doctoral Degree in cyber.

Babur is a recent recipient of the The George B. Vaughan Leadership Award for Outstanding Adjunct Faculty. Winners of this award demonstrate consistent superior teaching and a commitment to providing students with instruction of the highest quality; adapt readily to student needs, interests, and problems; provide outstanding support for the growth and development of individual students; and demonstrate the use of relevant, contemporary information from their discipline in their teaching.

Babur can be reached at



New IT Faculty Spotlights – Michael, Ryan, and John

This month we turn the spotlight on 3 of our new IT faculty members: Michael Spiller, Ryan Ammons, and John McNally

Michael Spiller – IT Professor (Manassas)

 Michael Spiller has been a Business and Information Technology Professional since 1991.  He has worked in both the private and non profit sectors for over 25 years in a variety of Information Technology related positions with the last twelve years serving as the CIO and Vice President of Information Systems at The Heritage Foundation. He also owned a technology consulting business for over ten years helping small businesses set up hardware, software, database applications, training programs and implementing strategic plans to support their business needs.

During his career he has worked as a network engineer, Oracle database administrator, Help Desk Manager and software trainer.  He has managed projects to implement major software, hardware and security platforms as well as CRM and ERP implementations. These tasks have helped him have a good understanding of how technology works for any business environment.  He has served as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University teaching a variety of Business and Information Technology classes.  Most recently he taught Business and Information Technology classes at Osbourn High School in Manassas before transitioning back to college teaching.

Professor Spiller entered the field of teaching high school through the Virginia Career Switcher Program. This program provides an option for career professionals to enter the Virginia classrooms. It was the perfect program for Professor Spiller because it recognizes life and work experiences and teaches the core competencies to enter the field of teaching.   In addition to his Virginia teaching certification from the University of Virginia, Professor Spiller holds a Masters in Information Systems and Telecommunications (MS Johns Hopkins University).  His Bachelors of Science is in Management Information Systems from the University of South Florida.

He will be teaching the following  courses:  ITN 106 – Microcomputer Operating Systems , ITE 115 – Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts, ITE170 Multi Media Software, and ITD 256 – Advance Database Management.

In his spare time, Professor Spiller loves mountain biking, hiking, paddling boarding, running, scuba diving or skiing and being active outdoors.  He is also a high school wrestling coach at Osbourn high school. He is married to his wife Vanessa and they have two children.  His son Cole is a sophomore at The College of William and Mary and his daughter Courtney is a Senior at Centreville High School. He is also the proud owner of an English Springer Spaniel named “Beaver.”

Michael can be reached at

Ryan Ammons – IET Assistant Professor (Annandale)

Ryan is no stranger to NOVA. He was a part-time IT student at the Alexandria campus, where he volunteered to develop one of the first online student government polling systems. Ryan continued his connection to NOVA as an adjunct professor, prior to accepting a full-time position at Annandale.

He received a Bachelor’s in Chemistry (Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB). Ryan also received a Juris Doctor (Univ. of Alabama School of Law) and a Master’s in Software Engineering (George Mason Univ.).

Ryan’s career has mainly focused on software development and IT. He has over 20 years of industry experience, beginning as a high school intern with GTE, and later, Verizon. Some of the systems he developed as an intern are still in production today.

Ryan was an NSF Fellow in the Science in Motion program at UAB for three years. He developed and implemented new learning models, integrating technology and peer-based learning. During law school, Ryan traveled to Germany and Austria to teach courses to students bound for U.S. exchange studies. He went on exchange to Germany himself in high school and later interned in Germany as a law student. He has lived in Münster and Berlin, and is fluent in German.

He has worked as an IT Consultant, Database/Desktop/Web/Mobile Developer, CTO, and has been the sole proprietor of an IT and development consulting service for over ten years. Through projects based on current industry practices, including the use of cloud-based platforms, he hopes to prepare NOVA students for challenges in the workforce of today and tomorrow.

Ryan’s interests include foreign language, remote-controlled model aircraft, DIY electronics, geopolitics, law, and current affairs. However, he is most passionate about all things electronics and infotech. Over the years, Ryan has volunteered his time as a math, science and IT tutor.

Ryan can be reached at

John McNally – IET Assistant Professor (Annandale)

After multiple years as an adjunct for NVCC, John McNally comes to the Loudoun Campus as a full-time IET professor.  Previously, John had a successful career spanning more than twenty years as a senior technology executive for small to medium-sized companies.  A founding member of multiple technology start-ups, John has had the privilege to wear many hats including software developer, database administrator, network engineer and systems architect.

John holds a B.S. in Information Systems from Salisbury University and a M.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University.

And, John is the primary author of Informix Unleashed (SAMS division of McMillan Publishing, July 1997), which covers all aspects of developing and managing databases using the Informix database management system.

Outside the classroom, John has a love for event experiences and enjoys spending time with his family and friends attending live sporting events and concerts.

email John at

Fab Lab Preview

Our Fab Lab at NOVA Manassas is making great progress and on track to open in January, 2020. The Fab Lab will support NOVA’s industry-aligned AAS in Engineering Technology.

Once finished, the Fab Lab will offer state-of the art equipment for instructional and training use such as modular automation systems, high and low voltage electronics, fluid and power control systems and a full “Smart Factory” mechatronics system to teach how to control manufacturing, maintenance, inventory and supply chain operations.

In addition, the Fab Lab will contain a Makerspace featuring a 3D scanner, 3D printers, laser engraver, plastic thermoforming machine, a vinyl printer/cutter and a full woodworking shop as well as a computer aided design (CAD) computer lab featuring SolidWorks software, all to serve as a hub to connect industry to the developing technology workforce.

The Interface will keep you updated on Fab Lab progress up until the grand opening.

Check out the initial press release for more info