Category Archives: Business Engagement

CLRI Celebrates Fall Graduates at Networking Event

The Fall Career and Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI) concluded on November 17 at the Woodbridge Campus (at the site of the future NOVA Data Center Training Facility). NOVA IET students put their newly enhanced career skills in action to make industry connections at a final networking session, the culminating event for students before they receive their certificates of completion. This was particularly notable this semester as it was the first in-person CLRI at NOVA since it was established in 2020.

Through an extracurricular 5-week course, CLRI students were trained how to interview, create a resume that stands out, manage interpersonal skills in a diverse workplace, and more. Students were also treated to two tours of an IET partner, STACK Infrastructure Data Center.

The final networking event kicked-off with remarks from VP of IET and College Computing Dr. Chad Knights before students and IET professionals gathered for a round table discussion and Q & A on relevant experiences and pressing needs in the tech workforce. After the discussion, Executive Director of the NOVA Foundation Kelly Persons addressed graduates and presented them with completion certificates and a leather CLRI portfolio. Graduates also receive a digital CLRI badge that they can add to their LinkedIn profiles.

Following the certificate presentation, CLRI students put their skills to the test during a catered meal where there were opportunities to network with the industry partners from the roundtable discussions. One of the major draws of CLRI and especially the final networking event is that graduates obtain immediate internship opportunities and receive priority consideration for our paid summer internships. 2-3 students from the fall CLRI cohort have been offered winter-break internships at Digital Realty and 3 CLRI students have already been extended an offer of employment from various industry partners.


Feedback from CLRI graduates included the following:

“CLRI helped me to get professional skills, to meet people, to make connections, to build my network. I really learned how to rebrand my resumé to attract hiring managers.” – Kanyin, NOVA IT Major

“I want to get better, I want to be better, I want to do better, and I want an opportunity to come my way. This gave me the opportunity. It was a lot of fun and definitely built my confidence” – Elizabeth, NOVA IT Major

“The nicest thing about CLRI is that you get to know a lot of people who are like-minded, and industry professionals who give you really good advice. It’s definitely worth joining.” – Hamid, IST Major

“I would 100% recommend CLRI. The networking aspect was what I got the most from. Tom (Tom Gerencer, CLRI’s Technical Resume Instructor), who I was able to contact via LinkedIn, turned my resume from OK to fantastic.” Tim, ET Major

“Once [NOVA students] come into the program, they will feel how impactful CLRI is on their career journey.” – Tahiba, IT Major


For the Fall 2022 cohort, 34 NOVA students are scheduled to complete CLRI (make-up sessions are due Dec 15) and 52 students attended at least one workshop. Overall, since it’s implementation, CLRI has surpassed 100 completers.

Special recognition goes to M. Andy Chaves, NOVA SySTEMic CTE Coordinator, and Sedrick Settle, IET Career Advisor for their exemplary work in running CLRI with excellence and enthusiasm from beginning to end this semester.

You can reach M. Andy at machaves@nvcc.edu and Sedrick at ssettle@nvcc.edu


Industry Partners who attended the CLRI Networking Event:

Keron Taylor, Data Center Operations Manager, Google
Troy Hill, Director of Data Center Operations, Iron Mountain Data Centers
Jay Mitchell, Operations Manager, Iron Mountain Data Centers
Scott LaCasse, Supervisor of Workstation Support, PWCS
Darlene Armenta, Director of Talent Acquisition, Red River
Koren Flint, Senior Director of Customer Experience, Red River
Christopher Lettiere, Director of Data Center Operations, Coresite
Rob Morgan, Director of Project Management, CompuDynamics
Sal Amado, Director of Learning & Development, Simple Technology Solutions


Spring CLRI Opportunities:

If you are a NOVA student and want to get ahead in your career, CLRI will continue in Spring 2023, with a kick-off event on Feb 16 and workshops beginning the following week on Feb 21. You can sign up for our Spring 2023 Interest Form at https://www.nvcc.edu/career-services/clri.html to be notified when applications are available. We will also keep you up to date through our monthly Newsletter, which you can sign up for at http://newsletter.novastem.us

Another good resource to keep up with IET and future CLRI sessions and feedback is the NOVA Engage App, which you can find on Apple and Google Play. Some CLRI students who received internships applied directly through the App.

NOVA IET at the ATE PI Conference

 

In Washington D.C. from Oct 26-28, five NOVA PI’s (principal investigators), leading three National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects attended the 2022 NSF ATE PI Conference to network with community college PIs and program officers at the annual conference. The NOVA PIs highlighted their project successes and collaborated with colleagues from around the country to advance the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

The conference brought together more than 600 NSF ATE grantees and their project partners to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education. Conference participants represent community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges in a wide variety of areas, such as information technology, engineering technology, micro- and nanotechnologies, chemical technology, biotechnology, and more.

>> Article on Benefits of ATE Grants

Because of grant-based programs and activities, NOVA students have more access to in-demand, high-paying STEM careers, and NOVA faculty and staff are provided the tools to increase awareness and opportunities for these important fields of study.


NOVA’s NSF ATE Projects:


 DCO Tech: Expanding Regional Capacity for Training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations.

PI: Josh Labrie | Co-PIs: Amir Mehmood & TJ Ciccone

At the ATE conference, Josh Labrie, Director of NOVA SySTEMic, and TJ Ciccone, DCO Adjunct Faculty and VP of Critical Infrastructure at STACK Infrastructure, highlighted the NSF ATE project DCO Tech. This project is designed to increase regional capacity for training in Engineering Technology (ET) and Data Center Operations (DCO) through expanded recruitment, employment training, and increased collaboration between industry, K-12 educators, and faculty. At the conference the team highlighted the successes of the Summer Bridge Program and the Secondary Externship. In addition, Ciccone lead a presentation on DCO: Building Awareness and Opportunity for an Emerging Field.

In 2022, NOVA’s Summer Bridge Program for Engineering Technology saw 20 high school students (14 rising seniors and 6 graduates) complete the 2-week summer enrichment program which provided them with 1-credit in SDV. Students participated in industry tours of Micron Technology and STACK Infrastructure, a local data center, to learn about the career opportunities and pathways in engineering technology. Additionally, students experienced NOVA through campus tours and NOVA student offices presentations, and 14 earned an OSHA 10 industry certification. NOVA included transportation between campuses, field trips to industry partners, and an ice cream social to cap off the program.

In addition, 18 educators completed the Secondary Externship for school CTE administrators, teachers, and counselors to raise awareness for engineering technology and DCO careers. NOVA’s Secondary Externship program equips educators with knowledge about ET and DCO careers and the educational pathways NOVA provides to prepare students for the technology workforce. Externship educators attended tours of Micron and STACK Infrastructure, as well as a professional development day at the NOVA Fab Lab. The goal is to create clear pathways and provide materials to illuminate NOVA’s ET and DCO programs and the careers they lead to.

After the conference, Labrie was ebullient about the importance of Data Center Operations and the players behind its growth: “NOVA has exceptional faculty members like TJ Ciccone whose combination of industry experience and passion for education benefit our students and the grant funded work we do. At the NSF ATE PI conference, TJ and I were able to share NOVA’s DCO program with faculty from around the country. My hope is that NOVA’s successful program can serve as a model for other colleges to engage in DCO education, and that this work will raise awareness for data center education and career opportunities.”

Bridge programs and Externships continue in spring/summer 2023. Students and educators can sign up now to receive notification when applications are available at info.novastem.us/SummerPrograms


Makers By Design: Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses.

PI: Josh Labrie | Co-PIs: Hamadi Belghith & Richard Sewell

Makers By Design (MBD) strengthens engineering technology pathways by providing professional learning for postsecondary faculty and K-12 educators and seeks to create a community of practice among engineering educators involved in community-based makerspaces at public libraries, private organizations, public school systems, colleges, and universities.

MBD Grant Project Manager Chris Russell represented MBD at the conference and highlighted the Design Thinking Fellowship to attendees.

The Fellowship, funded by MBD, is comprised of middle and high school teachers, informal STEM learning professionals, and college faculty. The fellowship comes with a stipend and involves completing a 5-day Professional Learning (PL) Institute at the NOVA Fab Lab in Spring 2023, teaching PL topics at a 1-week summer camp and creating and implementing PL classroom activities.

In 2022, the design thinking cohort of 17 fellows participated in five professional learning workshops and provided 116 middle and high school youth a digital fabrication summer camp at NOVA and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. The cohort will complete the fellowship by creating a design challenge and contributing a lesson plan to the project for design thinking.

Next spring we will host a second cohort of Design Thinking Fellowship educators. Recruitment will begin in November and there will be interest meetings on Wednesday November 9th and also on Tuesday December 6th. You can sign up for these sessions at fellowship.novastem.us/MBDinfo. If you are already familiar with the fellowship and ready to apply you can do so at fellowship.novastem.us/MBDapply

On the ATE conference, Russell reflected: “increasing alignment between industry needs and classroom instruction is a pressing concern in rapidly advancing technological fields. Through the thoughtful feedback from our ATE colleagues, we will improve our teacher preparation to better serve employers and students in the region.”


Product Design Incubator (PDI): Fostering Entrepreneurial Mindset Through Interdisciplinary Product Design

PI: Richard Sewell | Co-PIs: Cameisha Chin & Paula Ford

Richard Sewell, NOVA’s Fab Lab Manager, was at the conference and observed: “the ATE Conference was an excellent opportunity to engage with fellow technology educators to compare our approaches, learn new methods, and share our findings in a constantly changing tech arena. By the end of the conference, it became clear that NOVA’s NSF ATE programs are tackling head-on the most pressing issues shared throughout the nation’s top academies.”

Sewell is the PI on the NSF Product Design Incubator (PDI) Grant. PDI is a new project designed to train community college students through a product design challenge that aims to combine technical knowledge with soft skills and interpersonal development. Each year, PDI participants will:

  • Learn entrepreneurship skills during 6 spring workshops.
  • Design and protype a product during a summer product design incubator.
  • Pitch a product to regional entrepreneurs
  • Receive a $3000 stipend for completion

Essentially, PDI will increase contact between students and industry professionals, foster interdisciplinary collaboration between NOVA students and staff, and increase the supply of IET workers with industry required collaboration, communication, and critical-thinking skills.

You can complete a apply PDI application at fablab.novastem.us/PDIapply

Interest meetings will be held on Thursday, November 10 and Thursday, December 8. You can register for those at fablab.novastem.us/PDIinfo

To learn more about our Grants in general visit www.nvcc.edu/academics/divisions/it/sponsored-grants.html

 

DCO Tech Externship Educators Tour Micron and Stack

Engineering technology teachers, counselors, and administrators had the opportunity to tour Micron and Stack Infrastructure this month as part of a NOVA Secondary Educator Externship to help guide students into Engineering Technology careers. There are more tours available for June.

This Externship program is a component of an NSF funded grant awarded to NOVA to expand the pipeline of students preparing for careers in engineering technology. It helps teachers, counselors, and administrators develop first-hand knowledge of engineering technology through higher education and industry connections.

Participants tour local facilities, engage in discussions with industry and higher education leaders, and develop a plan to guide their students to careers in engineering technology.

Participants must participate in a tour of Micron Technology in Manassas and STACK Infrastructure in Ashburn as well as tour NOVA’s Fab Lab and engage in discussion about NOVA programs.

Students who completed NOVA’s Career and Leadership Readiness Institute have been invited to join the externship participants to learn about engineering technology careers and opportunities with industry partners.

Tours of Micron Technology and STACK Infrastructure were held in April and May. The Secondary Externship application is still available, with final tour dates of both sites scheduled for the end of June.

For more information go to iet.novastem.us/Externship2

STEM Coordinator Brendan Murphy Wins Awards

It’s been a big month for NOVA SySTEMic’s Annandale STEM Coordinator Brendan Murphy!

First, Brendan was awarded the Emerging Leader Award at the 2022 International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA) conference in Orlando, FL on March 9-12.

The Emerging Leader Award is presented in recognition of educators who have demonstrated a high level of competence, dedication, commitment, and professional activity in the field of technology and engineering education.

Brendan served ITEEA’s Council for STEM Leadership as the membership chairperson, presented at the conference on the application of Design Thinking and Digital Fabrication, and hosted a Networking and Mentoring workshop to support young professionals foster relationships with mentors in the field.

Secondly, at the same event, he was awarded with the Burke Supervision and Shared Leadership Scholarship, which is presented to practicing leaders in the technology and engineering profession with supervisory responsibilities and helps support the advancement of technology and engineering researched-based practices at major professional development conferences.

Thirdly, Brendan was selected as a Fellow for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) 2022 NextLevel Postsecondary CTE Leadership Program, (sponsored by ECMC Foundation). The NextLevel Fellowship provides professional and career growth opportunities to the next generation of leaders in postsecondary CTE programs through this nationally-recognized program that is engaging, individualized, and memorable. Seventeen fellows were selected for the 2022-2023 cohort. See Brendan’s ACTE bio here

Brendan reflected on his awards: “It’s an honor to be recognized by such distinguished technology and engineering professionals. I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to advance our profession and impact the lives of students and educators locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Congratulations, Brendan! We’re glad you are on our team.

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #ITEEA #ACTE

 

Elevate Loudoun Virtual Computer Science Internship Fair

Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) is looking for computer science community members from all industries to support LCPS High School Juniors and Seniors by participating in their Virtual Computer Science Internship Fair. This event is a great opportunity for LCPS high school students who are interested in computer science to learn skills related to a career in technology and to speak with companies who have internship experiences available for students.
Date & Time: January 25, 2022 from 4-7pm
Questions? Contact Mrs. Kristina Lee at Kristina.Lee@lcps.org or 571-246-0982

NOVA Fiber-Optic Fusion Splicing Course Makes News

Northern Virginia’s skilled workers — including many NOVA students and alumni — build, operate and maintain our region’s critical infrastructure. Exciting programs like this support an inclusive innovation economy and prepare our talented and diverse students for high-demand, high-wage jobs and careers that will keep Northern Virginia on the leading edge of technology well into the future.

~ NOVA President Dr. Anne Kress


NOVA’s IET Division was happy to partner with Amazon.com Inc. on October 13th and 14th for a fiber-optic fusion splicing course and career networking session. Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Inc., an optic fiber manufacturer and data center solutions provider based in Raleigh, North Carolina, also partnered in the course and networking session on Wednesday and Thursday. The event was held in the WRC Building on the Woodbridge campus, and with almost 40 students participating and completing the training, it was a huge success.

Northern Virginia is home to the largest data center market in the world and is nearly equal to the 2nd through 5th largest US markets combined. When you add this with the increased demand for broadband technology and access, you can see the rapidly growing need for skilled labor for the data center industry and the supporting companies. Opportunities like this give NOVA students industry credentials to explore careers even during their educational journey and add value to their resumes for future employment efforts.

Fiber-optic cabling is made of glass fibers inside a casing that transmits data through signals, including for internet, television and phone services — technology that’s critical to the build-out of communication networks and data centers. Participants in this week’s course, the first installment in Greater Washington, learned how to install and repair fiber optics and met with local employers, an AWS spokesperson said.

Check out the article from the Washington Business Journal

 

LCPS Career Camp Equips Students for Workforce

 

Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) IET Division, NOVA SySTEMic and NOVA faculty members partnered with Loudoun County Public Schools to offer a virtual week-long Summer Career Camp for rising 9th graders through graduating seniors July 19-23, 2021.

During the career camp, students learned how to create effective resumes, developed their team building skills through interactive virtual activities, and participated in interview workshops.  Students also completed a mock interview and participated in virtual networking activities with industry partners and NOVA faculty and staff. Students who attended all camp sessions were sent a Certificate of Completion.

One participant shared the following: “My experience at the Career camp was phenomenal. I was taught a large spectrum of things, from the importance of networking to ways I could improve my resume. Additionally, I participated in a mock interview where I got the opportunity to polish my communication skills and socialize with possible employers. I am so glad I got the opportunity to participate in the camp, it was such an amazing experience.”

#WeDoSTEM

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!

#BoldlyNOVA #WeDoSTEM

Invaluable Partnerships make Cyber Camps Possible

Version 2We’re all about partnerships. Over the past 6 years we have developed and operated programs, competitions, camps, and curriculum that have only been possible through the aid of partnerships in our local community. Our efforts to enhance and expand STEM in Northern Virginia have resulted in lasting collaborations with industry, government and school divisions.

That’s the bird’s eye view, at least. We’re also about inspiring and equipping students on an individual basis, and so are our partners. That’s why we place such a strong emphasis on STEM camps, which are one of the most effective gateways for students in STEM.

Last month, at West Potomac High School, NOVA SySTEMic Solutions had the privilege to16-259-17 recognize AT&T, FCPS and Ft. Belvoir for their contributions in enhancing STEM camp opportunities for underrepresented students from Mt. Vernon High School. Representatives from each organization were on hand to show support and offer their insights and advice to students who are prospective members of the future STEM workforce.

The focus of the guest speakers was on the cyber security needs for our region, highlighting the vital need for programming and cyber personnel in the workforce and for national defense. AT&T led the way with a $10,000 contribution to enable hands-on robotics (with a programming focus) and cyber security camps for 9th through 12th graders from July 18-29.

DSC_0681 (1)LaTara Harris, Regional Director of External & Legislative Affairs for AT&T, addressed camp students with encouragement about their future: “Leverage the gifts that you have and consider a career in STEM. It’s an absolute priority for our company. We’ve invested over 350 million dollars in ensuring that more students are exposed to the STEM fields. The jobs in cyber security are beyond vast by the time you get out.”

On the government side, Lt. Colonel Christopher Tomlinson from nearby Ft. Belvoir illustrated the numerous cyber security opportunities available in the military and why it’s16-259-23 important: “Cyber is becoming its own domain, its own environment. We’re going to take a whole host of individuals and turn them into cyber professionals operating in that domain, going after threats to networks and information. We’re going to do that in collaboration with educators and industry. That creates power and synergy and you guys are the focus for that.”

DSC_0672The cyber security camp specifically provided students with hands-on experience in networking and computer security, cyber ethics and defense strategies through hands-on activities. Through the visit of these accomplished professionals students had a great introduction to career opportunities through a different type of networking by gaining contacts for possible future employment and internships. After the presentation all the guest speakers stayed to speak with students one on one.

If a career is not yet on the radar for these young minds, NOVA provides a bridge to the professional world. NOVA has a strong cyber security presence, and SySTEMic Solutions acting director Chad Knights was ebullient about what that means for students considering a future in STEM: “NOVA is a leader in cybersecurity education. We offer an16-259-28 A.A.S. in cybersecurity that will ensure you receive training in the hard skills needed to become employable in the field. Even if you are planning to pursue a Bachelor’s degree NOVA is a great place to start. NOVA’s A.A.S. in cybersecurity transfers in full to five institutions including George Washington, Marymount and George Mason. As you plan for your future NOVA is an outstanding local resource available to you. We are dedicated to your success and are here to help you achieve your dreams.”

AOL a perfect stage for STEM camps to engage

16-254-89

STEM camps can inspire career paths. Not just in ideas but through environment. Earlier this summer, when one of our high school STEM camp instructors experienced the atmosphere at the technically cutting-edge AOL campus in Dulles, he said “I want to work here when I grow up.”

We generally operate our STEM camps at High Schools, NOVA campuses and other educational institutions, but this summer we also had the privilege of holding camps at the industry giant from July 22-26.

16-254-76The AOL Dulles campus is an invigorating center of technology and a great place to hold our Scratch Programming, LEGO EV3 and VEX Robotics camps. We hope the experience of such a tech-savvy professional environment makes STEM engagement more memorable and inspiring.

AOL classrooms provided state of the art equipment, including desktop space with embedded outlets and audio and video equipment that allowed competition action to be displayed in real time for the parents. In addition the auditorium provided a stadium element for the VEX 1 competition.

SySTEMic Solutions’ Loudoun coordinator Liz Coffey noted “both instructors and campers 16-254-66asked about how they could get a job at AOL.” The instructors also observed how the professional surroundings generally led to more focus. Sometimes, when campers are in a school environment “they revert back to school behavior,” as one instructor noted.

The success of SySTEMic Solutions depends on sustained engagement from local businesses, creating not only opportunities for prospective STEM students but also a chance for AOL to invest in the future workforce. Jamie Mittleman, Senior Marketing Manager from Citizen AOL, extolled the potential of partnership: “STEM camps invigorate our employees and campuses. Employees want to work at a company that gives back and actively seek opportunities to get involved in their communities. By opening our doors, we are exposing the next generation of leaders to our brands, but also supporting volunteer opportunities for our employees.”

16-254-90And so it proved all week. AOL employees were intrigued by the camps and often observed proceedings. Some asked how they could register their own children in a camp. One 25 year-old employee who was part of the fishbowl group encouraged the VEX IQ campers that they are “getting ahead of the game” and reflected that he did not have the advantage of doing “things like this” when he was young. Other employees offered free new and used books to campers. AOL not only helped in welcoming our program, staff and campers, they were instrumental in logistical planning and even printed the requisite signs and banners in-house. It was a wonderful example of industry collaboration with NOVA and STEM education.

Mittleman also sees the big picture from camp to career to culture: “We’re talking about making the world a better place. We put that mission in action by investing in future leaders, strengthening communities around the globe and empowering our people, partners, clients and audiences to make an outstanding impact on society’s biggest challenges. Engaging students in STEM is so important because we are giving them16-254-84 tools to accomplish what many could only dream of. We are giving them the skill sets to turn ideas into actions.”

This is something we hope our camp students will absorb as they chart a path towards STEM education and ultimately the future STEM workforce.