Fab Lab Events Feb-March 2021

NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge 

The NOVA Fab Lab, located at Northern Virginia Community College, is hosting a virtual Design Challenge!  In the past year, manufacturers have often sold out of typical fun products like video games, building blocks, and jigsaw puzzles. In the absence of consumables, people have utilized their own creativity to invent new products for personal and family entertainment. THE CHALLENGE is to invent and design a product which transforms typical household items or materials into a toy or game.  

The Challenge is open to middle school, high school, and college students with entries being accepted from February 15th until April 15th.  Grand prize winner will receive a 3D Printer, design software, and fabrication of their product!  For more details visit . 

Virtual Fab Lab Tours 

Would you like to learn more about the NOVA Fab Lab? Then attend a virtual tour and live information session. You will have an opportunity to ask questions, see images and videos of lab activities, and receive an overview of Fab Lab programs.  Free and open to the public. February 25th @ 7 pm and March 26th @ 2 pm. Register here: 

Lifelong Learning Institute Workshop: “3D Printing & Mini Greenhouse Construction” 

Participants will learn how to use design software to create a greenhouse accessory for 3D printing.  Their design will then be fabricated and mailed to the participant along with a mini-greenhouse kit to build.  Additionally, Fab Lab videos will demonstrate how 3D printing works and how the greenhouse covers were created using a plastic thermoforming machine.  No previous experience required.  Must be a member of the LLI of Manassas.  March 12th from 10:00-11:30 am. Register at: 

Teacher Professional Development: Easel: Understand tool-pathing for CNC carving” 

Learn the basic technology on how CNC carving works while designing an ink stamp using a free, web-based software called Easel.  This session is recommended for formal and informal educator’s that have interest in CNC carving or access to a Carvey® desktop CNC routerThe session will model and emphasize tips and tricks for virtual instruction using this software. Time for pedagogical discussions and student/instructor guides will be provided.  Free and no prior experience required.  March 8th from 46 pm.  Register at: . 

Community Partnerships NOVA Fab Lab STEM Courses STEM Education STEM Events STEM Resources Online Virtual STEMinars

Virtual STEMinars and Fab Lab Tours this Fall

Virtual STEMinars are back! We are running virtual FAB LAB tours and info sessions and virtual workshops that include a Maker Club, a Laser Fabrication Workshop, Video Game Development and more, starting in October. Many STEMinars are HANDS-ON, as we will send you materials that you work on with an instructor virtually leading the course on Zoom.

Events and courses listed below:

LLI Fab Lab Virtual Tour & Industry 4.0
These special sessions will include images and videos of the facility, an overview of Fab Lab activities, and a presentation on Industry 4.0 (IoT).  Session options are being offered to members of the Manassas Lifelong Learning Institute on October 16th and November 13th at 10:00 am.

Register at
(must be a LLI member to register for this event).

Virtual Tour & Info Session:  NOVA Fab Lab
Would you like to learn more about the NOVA Fab Lab? Then attend this virtual tour and live information session.  You will have an opportunity to ask questions, see images and videos of lab activities, and receive an overview of Fab Lab programs. Open to the public and registration is required. Free.  November 6th from 2:00-2:45 pm.

Register here:

Virtual Maker Club
Have your kids take a break from the screen and tinker with some hands-on STEM activities.  Over the course of four weeks a weekly project will be provided that will include activities such as:  building a tiny robot, creating circuits, using a DIY conductive probe to design experiments, building a wind turbine to move objects, and completing a design challenge using items from around the house.  Directions and printed extension activities will be provided so that participants can explore at their own pace.  An optional live virtual session will be provided once a week to provide an overview, support, sharing, and assistance with extension activities.  A materials kit will be mailed, but participants will need: a Phillips screwdriver, a fan, 100 pennies, tape, scissors, liquid glue, and recycling bin materials.  Recommended for children in grades 4 – 8.  Cost $72 ($60 for NOVA staff/faculty/students). Two session options beginning October 26th andNovember 24th.

Register here:

Laser Workshop:  Design Thanksgiving Pie Toppers
Design personalized pie toppers that will then be fabricated and mailed to you.  You will learn how to design in Inkscape, a free graphics and drawing software, while learning how lasers can be used to cut and engrave. Ages 16 and older. Cost $20 ($16 for NOVA staff/faculty/students). Live virtual session on November 2nd from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Register here:

Makers by Design Challenge Series
The goal of a Maker is to produce better products – but what defines a “better product?” What is a better product in the age of Digital Fabrication? Machines might have assimilated hard skills, but the soft skills necessary for innovation have yet to be adopted.  This 4-part STEMinar and optional lab(s) addresses these concerns by identifying the soft skills required in Digital Fabrication. Topics will include: Design Thinking, brainstorming, user-empathy, rapid ideation, prototyping, and making as an iterative non-sequential process. The series will conclude with the presentation of a design challenge and competition, with the winning members’ product being fabricated in our own Fab-Lab. Open to current 9-12th graders and college students.  Sessions run from 7:00 – 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th .

Registration is for all 4 sessions, while the Optional Labs have a separate registration.  FREE.

Register here:

Video Game Development using Scratch
Enhance your Scratch coding skills while developing a video game!  Participants must have prior and intermediate level experience using Scratch.  A four-session series with each session building on the previous.  For grades 6 – 9th on Wednesdays Oct. 28th, Nov. 4th, 11th, & 18th at 7:00 pm.  FREE.

Register here:




Community STEM Teams Robotics Virtual Events

Sign Up for Virtual Community Robotics Teams!


VEX Community Teams

We now have open registration for our virtual VEX Community Robotics Teams Fall session, which will run from October 5 until December 9. The Fall session is for continuing students as well as new students, who will learn teamwork, problem solving, and creative technical skills while using the VEX Robotics platform. Students will build a standard robot that could be used to compete during the 2020-21 VEX Robotics Season. They will learn more about the modifications and design of the robot. Discussion on this year’s game strategy and preparations for possible competitions will be presented as well.

This virtual session will be a hybrid session in which each student will check out and borrow a robotics kit to work with, but all the instruction will be offered virtually in 90 minute blocks twice a week. Kits will need to be picked up at our NOVA Manassas campus (Manassas Battleview Technology Center – MBV) using proper social distancing measurements. Kits will be returned at the end of the session.

Registration here:

VRC will run from Oct 5 to Dec 9
VEX IQ from Oct 6 to Dec 10. Cost is $249 per student.

Community Partnerships Employee Spotlight Publicity STEM Awards

NOVA SySTEMic Coordinator Nominated for Gov Award

Tiffanie Rosier, our Woodbridge STEM Coordinator, has been nominated for a 2020 Governor’s Honor Award for Personal and Professional Excellence. Tiffanie specializes in STEM Career Exploration, and has been particularly adept at transitioning STEM Career events into a virtual platform, connecting with both students and the corporate world. Tiffanie has also taken on the role of Remote Student Support (RS3) for NOVA IET.

Summary of Nomination
Ms. Rosier is admired by her NOVA SySTEMic team for her positive outlook, willingness to help, and her commitment to the students at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). Ms. Rosier is currently associated with the Perkins Grant Committee and in collaboration with team members to further CTE efforts. Ms. Rosier constantly seeks out and shares opportunities to encourage career development or participate in events to anyone she encounters within the NOVA community.

The recent restrictions to in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant there was a need to quickly adapt to a “new normal”. Ms. Rosier put her resilience and resourcefulness to good use to make sure this would be accomplished.

Initiative and Creativity
Without the ability to host in-person events, the career focused, Ms. Rosier, focused her energy into seamlessly transitioning into a virtual platform; allowing accessibility to a broader, diverse
audience. Ms. Rosier’s numerous connections in the corporate world has allowed her to provide greater exposure to all NOVA students. Most recently, she partnered with NOVA’s Career Connection team and organizations like Leidos and LinkedIn to make engaging and educational virtual events accessible during a critical time when employment was a concern for many students.

Ms. Rosier also recently stepped in to fill the need within the Information and Engineering Technologies Division as a Remote Student Support (RS3) advisor. Within four months, Ms. Rosier has taken ownership of this new role and is actively involved in guiding new and current students.

She continues to coordinate with NOVA faculty and staff to offer professional and personal growth opportunities and has reached over 800 students in the past year. As an RS3 Advisor, Ms.
Rosier, successfully connected with upwards of 300 students and 25 military veterans to provide them advising, guidance in course sections, and completing financial aid requirements. Every individual Ms. Rosier reaches will be more prepared for their educational and career path because of her efforts.

In line with the mission of Northern Virginia Community College, Ms. Rosier delivers exceptional service to the college as well as the community. Her dedication to career development has proven to inspire students to set goals, challenge themselves, and explore opportunities in Northern Virginia’s competitive workforce.

Quote from Nominee
“I am honored to receive the nomination for the Personal & Professional Excellence Award! I consider myself a lifelong learner and people have always shared information with me about the importance of personal and professional development as early as my college years.  I try to seize any opportunity that I can to learn something new or enhance myself by strengthening myself in other areas.  I am a firm believer in giving and giving back and leave no one behind.  I try to share all that I can with others, in order to support them in thinking about their own personal or professional development needs.”


Business Engagement Community Partnerships IET Newsletter NOVA Loudoun Campus NOVA STEM Faculty STEM Awards STEM Courses STEM Degrees

NOVA Adjunct Wins NVTC Data Center Champion Award

NOVA Adjunct Faculty T.J. Ciccone has been named the Data Center Community Champion at the 2nd annual NVTC Virginia Data Center Awards in McLean for his leadership, support, and contributions to NOVA’s Data Center Operations (DCO) program and students.

The virtual event was attended by more than 150 industry executives, economic development professionals and state elected officials to recognize individuals and projects that represent excellence in areas of sustainability, construction, support, and advocacy and community engagement. Northern Virginia is the largest data center market in the world, according to NVTC’s 2020 Impact of Data Centers on the State and Local Economies of Virginia. You can read more about the 2nd annual NVTC awards here.

Professor Ciccone is the Vice President of Critical Operations at Stack Infrastructure and has helped lead the way in Data Center Operations for our college community by creating industry engagement opportunities for NOVA students, building industry-driven curriculum and providing data center tours and on-site laboratory activities.

His class at NOVA, ENE 195 – Intro to Data Center Operations (DCO), is part of the NOVA Engineering Technology A.A.S Degree DCO Specialization as well as the DCO Certificate program and expands basic knowledge on how data centers work from an engineering standpoint. This course is the only fully college accredited data center program in Virginia and more than 70% of students who have taken the intro course are now working in a data center. Professor Ciccone is teaching in-person (with social distancing) this semester at the Loudoun campus.

He responded to his NVTC award by saying “I am honored to be named a Data Center Community Champion, and beyond grateful to Northern Virginia Community College for embracing the need for an accredited data center program. It expands and increases the available talent pool, the diversity of candidates for the labor force, and most importantly the opportunity for young people from all walks of life to enter a career in technology. To be part of this, the largest data center market in the world, is very humbling.”

Congratulations, Professor Ciccone – we’re grateful to have you at NOVA!


IET Newsletter Publicity Robotics STEM Awards STEM Camps

Surgical Robot Named by STEM Camp Student

Congratulations to Nathan Tang!

We partnered with with OrthoVirginia on a naming campaign for their new MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgical Robot (for the knee) at the Herndon Operatory, the first robot in the commonwealth to be used in an outpatient surgery setting! The surgical staff chose Nathan’s moniker (credit also to Nathan’s friend Micah for input) from a list of submissions from our Virtual Robotics STEM Camps. The winning name: R2-Knee2.

Nathan got to meet R2-Knee2 in real life and learn about using the robot in surgery from Dr. Kevin Sumida, Dr. Johnathan Bernard and the Herndon Operatory staff. Thank you to all NOVA Systemic participants who submitted a name!

Nathan wants to go into Biomedical Engineering in the future, so maybe he’ll design the next wave of surgical robots! For winning the naming comp he received a custom plaque, a NOVA robotics jacket, four tickets to a D.C. United Soccer game and free D.C. United gear! His friend Micah also received swag and prizes.
#WeDoSTEM #FutureSTEMworkforce

About OrthoVirginia

With 27 locations around the state that include on-site physical therapy, orthopedic urgent care, and out-patient surgery centers, OrthoVirginia makes it easy for orthopedic patients to excel on the path to recovery, powered by advanced technology and techniques.

“R2-Knee2” performs total and partial knee replacement surgery. Click here for a video that highlights the robot’s capabilities.

IET Newsletter STEM Camps Virtual Events

Virtual STEM Camp Review 2020

STEM Camp Review 2020

Our virtual summer STEM Camps recently concluded with a total of 552 participants in 19 topics over 60 different sessions.

micro:bit, Scratch, VEX Robotics, Fabrication and Cybersecurity camps (with varying topics) were offered from June until August. Participants included K-12 students who were taught by NOVA Faculty and staff, High School Instructors and College Interns, eager to pass along their love and knowledge of STEM in a challenging and fledgling remote format. The show must go on, and indeed it did effectively to keep students engaged in STEM from the safety of home.

One major positive development with this year’s virtual camps was their reach. In our own commonwealth, virtual camps extended beyond the NOVA service area down to Newport News (in partnership with Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center, or BCIOC) and caught the attention of Dr. Mia D. Joe of Old Dominion University, who helped BCIOC make a transition to remote learning by adapting our camp modules.

Beyond that, we were able to instruct students from 12 states (VA, DC, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MD, NC, NY, PA, and SC)!

Camps were more affordable for many reasons, but mainly because they were offered per household instead of per student. We had 552 attendees with 297 unique registrations, 67% male and 33% female. When it came to earlier STEM engagement in Coding, the breakdown was 60% male and 40% female.

We even had a surgical-robot naming contest (in partnership with OrthoVirginia) for students in our robotics camps. The MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Robot assists on knee operations and after all submissions were in, the surgical staff at OrthoVirginia chose a name submitted by robotics camp student Nathan Tang (with assistance from his friend Micah): R2-Knee2 (read about that story here). Nathan, a future Biomedical Engineer, got to meet the robot and the surgical staff as well as winning prizes that included 4 tickets to a DC United game (when it’s safe, of course).

Parent Reviews:

At first, students and parents were a little concerned about how online learning would work out, but our staff worked hard to adjust the learning modules for an engaging remote format that proved effective. A few reviews from parents:

    • “Collette LOVED this camp and we will sign her up for one of the ones you list below, too. Thank you – I thought “virtual camp” would be a drag for her, but it was wonderful!” – Bridgette Farrell
    • “Thank you for the update and warning about managing my daughter Logan’s expectations.  She seems very interested and engaged in this class.  So much so that she has requested her own 3D printer 🙂  I am delighted that the class is going so well and that the program was able to pivot so effectively to virtual classes.” – Elizabeth Fry
    • “The boys have been enjoying camp this week! They were able to complete their cool emoji pins this afternoon and we have uploaded their files to Canvas. Thanks for having so much patience guiding the kids through unfamiliar software and tools. The boys have been playing around with the programs and hope to use it more!” – Laura G
    • “I don’t think we could have asked for a better teacher! The instructor was great and really attentive to her class. I was in the background listening to the lessons while I worked and most of the time everyone was following along with her. She explained things well and would stop periodically to make sure everyone understood/ everyone was on the same page. For my child this was a big deal and because she did this frequently he was able to catch up and eventually became more confident in asking questions or saying when he needed help. I think an individuals comfort with asking questions is huge predictor in whether or not virtual learning will be successful or not because it’s easy to get lost with coding and not always so easy for an instructor to help you. She (Ms. Lisbeth) did a great job.” – Parent of Virtual Coding Camp student (via SurveyMonkey)
    • “It was amazing. He was completely engaged every day for two straight weeks. And with two working parents – we did not have to supervise or run logistics for him. We were really lucky to have this!” – Parent of Virtual Camp student (via SurveyMonkey)

Student Reviews:

    • “Honestly it was really cool! I really enjoyed the brute force exercise. I know this is not the ideal way to teach but I’ve really been enjoying this week! Cryptography is definitely something I might consider looking into as a career!” – Valerie
    • “I learned how to use the John the Ripper program which i found very interesting. I also found the birthday paradox interesting and the fact that it could be used to find collisions. I enjoyed the lab and would like to do more.” – Kathleen
    • “I liked the lab it taught me a lot of information, I found how fast the john ripper attack was and how many different options it used before it got to the correct answer so quickly. I liked the lab and would like to do more.” – John
    • “I liked using EXIF data to find out where an image was posted, and learning how to do so. – Ethan W.
    • “Great lesson! I liked learning about exif data and learned that it can be used as factual evidence, if need be. Nothing to be improved, great experience.” – Kevin
    • “I liked the brute-force lab, I thought it was fun and interesting. I learned about the birthday paradox and thought it was very interesting that it was used when thinking about finding passwords and eventually resulted in security being improved. ” – Andrew
    • “My experience today was very nice! I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. (I mean no disrespect by that, by the way XD). I liked how concise the lecture was, not a lot of fluff * I learned what social engineering was” – Camp Student
    • “The teaching style was great, it included us all and helped me learn easier than just speeding through the information! I really liked this class, and i hope i encounter similar teachers in the future :). thank you for giving me something fun and interesting to do over this summer!” – Camp Student
    • “I really loved it and it helped me figure out a very possible career choice for me” – Camp Student
General Program Info IET Events Virtual Events

IET Student and Parent Zoom Session 7/30

We’re connecting this week with IET students about their interest in NOVA and the IET program in general.  

On Thursday, July 30 (11am-12pm), Dr. Chad Knights, Provost of Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) Information and Engineering Technologies (IET) division and his leadership team will host an informative Zoom session with current IT, Cybersecurity and Engineering Technology students as well as any students that have shown interest in college-wide IET programs. Parents and guardians of students are also welcome to join the session.

Dr. Knights and his team will explore options and resources available for you at NOVA and answer your questions. This is a follow-up to successful chats with students, parents and guardians that our president, Dr. Anne Kress, held in May.

Among the topics they will discuss are:

  • Program Options at NOVA
  • NOVA’s Six Options for the Fall
  • Financial Aid and Payment Plans
  • Transfer from NOVA to the College of Your Choice
  • Employment Opportunities

>> Please click here to register in advance. You’ll receive the Zoom link for the chat once registered.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday. Stay safe!

Community Partnerships Robotics STEM Camps

STEM Camp Students Will Name Surgical Robot!

NOVA SySTEMic is partnering with OrthoVirginia on a naming campaign for their new MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgical Robot.

With 27 locations around the state that include on-site physical therapy, orthopedic urgent care, and out-patient surgery centers, OrthoVirginia makes it easy for orthopedic patients to excel on the path to recovery, powered by advanced technology and techniques. The MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgical Robot is the first robot in VA to be used in an outpatient surgery setting!

STEM Camp students in our robotics camps will be given the opportunity to name the robot! This will be available to students in robotics camps that run from June 29 thru July 24.  Students can submit two options each. From the submissions a name will be chosen by our committee on July 27 and the robot will be officially named with the winning moniker in time for its first surgery on July 30! Proposed robot names are due to Camp Instructors by July 24.

The MAKO robot performs total and partial knee replacement surgery. Click here for a video that highlights the robot’s capabilities.

There are prizes for the student who’s robot name is picked: 4 tickets to a D.C. United Soccer game and free D.C. United gear!

If you would like to sign your child up for our Virtual Robotics camps go to We also have many other Virtual STEM Camps available.


Fab Lab Virtual STEMinars

Virtual STEMinars Wrap-Up

Our virtual spring STEMinars recently concluded with a total of 1,509 participants in over 48 different topic sessions.  Virtual sessions were offered on coding, cybersecurity, laser engraving, 3D printing, digital design, robotics, and cloud computing.

Participants included K-12 students, college students, community members, NOVA faculty/staff, and some national and international participants.  Session facilitators included NOVA faculty and NOVA Fab Lab staff, and Cybersecurity sessions were offered in partnership with the ISACA Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter.

New sessions are scheduled to be offered in the fall.