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Career & Technical Education CTE SkillsUSA

NOVA at SkillsUSA National Conference!

Five NOVA students represented Virginia at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) June 20-24 in Atlanta, GA. The national competitors at this conference are the top 2% of CTE students from across the country. NOVA students competed in Cybersecurity, Computer Programming, Extemporaneous Speaking and Job Skills Demonstration.

Ardian Peach and Humza Ansari finished 4th in Cybersecurity, completing tasks at and demonstrating knowledge at 10 cyber stations.

Alexander Choi finished 4th in Computer Programming after completing 2 challenges.

Claudia Oviedo finished 10th in Extemporaneous Speaking, after being prompted to prepare a 3-5 minute speech in just 10 minutes.

Maddie Gebremichael finished 13th in Job Skills Demonstration, giving a 5-7 minute speech to judges on engineer theory of a suspension bridge.

While at NLSC students also attended SkillsUSA University workshop sessions and participated in Techspo to meet with industry partners.

They also enjoyed the largest unofficial conference activity: trading state pins with other attendees from across the nation and networking with other student members.

Ardian Peach, who finished 4th overall in Cybersecurity, reflected on competing at the National Conference: “I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in SkillsUSA…The personal and professional development that everything led up to is something that you can’t really get anywhere else. Preparing for these events and eventually putting my skills to the test helped motivate me to learn more about my field, as well as evaluate my own self discipline. School can help, but if you want to win, that’s entirely up to you to put in the work to make it happen, and SkillsUSA is one of the best examples to show a student’s hard work.”

Niki Gordon, NOVA’s SkillsUSA advisor, said “SkillsUSA is such a great opportunity for students to take classroom learning and apply it to real world settings.  These competitions are not just written tests, these students have to complete projects, solve problems and showcase their technical skills. I am so proud of them for embracing this opportunity to improve themselves, build their resumes and further prepare for their futures in IET.”

Students will be receiving a congratulatory note from NOVA President, Dr. Kress.

Students had excellent support in preparing outside of classes. For cybersecurity, special recognition goes to Professor William McLaughlin, Professor Kwabena Konado, Professor Fernando Seminario, and AllCyber – Woodbridge Cyber Club. For computer programming, Professor Ryan Ammons.

Advisor Niki Gordon also worked with the two leadership students to prepare for their speech competitions.

Funding for the SkillsUSA Chapter and the trip to the National Leadership and Skills Conference was provided by our Federal Perkins Award, Micron, and the NOVA Foundation through the carry over of the founding InNOVAtion grant which started the chapter two years ago.

NLSC info and stats can be found here: https://www.skillsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/NLSC-2022-Flyer-Web.pdf

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CTE Employee Spotlight New Employee

Welcome Andy Chaves, NOVA SySTEMic’s New CTE Coordinator!

Andy is excited to join NOVA SySTEMic as our new CTE (Career and Technical Education) Director. Andy promotes and supports public/private partnerships through CTE programs. He served as the Chair of the National Advisory Board and Executive Committee of DECA while also serving on the Board of Directors of DECA, Inc.

Andy is a retired executive from Marriott International, Inc. where he worked for almost 31 years. He spearheaded Marriott’s youth strategies and partnership efforts supporting engagement initiatives across the globe. A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, he has more than 35 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry.

Andy was Board Chairman of Hospitality High School of Washington, DC, A Public Charter School.  He represented Marriott as liaison to the National Urban League, UnidosUS, NBMBAA, Prospanica, NABA, NRAEF’s ProStart, AH&LA Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) and various CTE programs and councils. He has served on the Advisory Board for career and technical program resources development with the Glencoe McGraw-Hill publisher.

Andy was also the founding President of the Montgomery County Public Schools Students Foundation for Hospitality and Restaurant Management (FHRM). As a Human Resources professional, Andy understands that investing in young people and giving back are essential for the future growth of any industry.  These public/private partnerships are what make career and technical education (CTE) programs succeed.  His greatest mentoring efforts are in raising his two children and encouraging them to become life-long learners and continuous career explorers.

Andy can be reached at machaves@nvcc.edu