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!