Category Archives: Design Thinking

Apply For Paid Design Centered Programs

In this article: Information on our Design Thinking Fellowship and Product Design Incubator (PDI)…



Design Thinking Fellowship

We’re recruiting for our second cohort of Design Thinking Fellows. This National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored program is open to middle and high school teachers, informal STEM learning professionals, and college faculty. The fellowship comes with a $2200 stipend upon completion.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenge assumptions and approach problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and non-linear way. Join us to learn about becoming a fellow and bringing design thinking to others.

Fellows will:

  • Complete a 5-day Professional Learning (PL) Institute in Spring 2023 at NOVA’s Fab Lab.
  • Practice teaching PL topics at a 1-week Summer Camp
  • Submit an entry to the Fall 2023 Fab Lab Design Challenge
  • Create and Implement PL Classroom activities

Information Sessions:

Tues Dec 6 | 4:30pm

Register at fellowship.novastem.us/MBDinfo

Registration:

If you are already familiar with the fellowship and ready to apply you can do so at fellowship.novastem.us/MBDapply


Product Design Incubator:

Do you have a brilliant idea for a new product? The NOVA Fab Lab is hosting out first Product Design Incubator for NOVA students to learn design thinking, develop entrepreneurial skills, and prototype and build a product at the NOVA Fab Lab.

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

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

Join us for an information session to learn about bringing your idea to life! Interest meetings will be held on Thursday, November 10 and Thursday, December 8. You can register for those at fablab.novastem.us/PDIinfo

PDI is possible thanks to a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant.

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

Fall 2022 Fab Lab Design Challenge

Time is fast approaching for NOVA students (as well as other college, High School, and Middle School students) to submit their designs for the Fall 2022 Fab Lab Design Challenge, which is to fabricate a replica of your favorite science fiction prop. As it has been for previous challenges, there will be prizes including 3D-printers and cash! All entries must be submitted online by December 11.

HOW TO ENTER:

COMPETITION DATES:

  • Competition opens Oct 31 at 11:59 pm
  • Submissions must be received by 11:59 pm December 11
  • Finalists will be announced December 15 at 5:00 pm.
  • Winners announced at the Finalists Exhibition in Jan 2023

OVERVIEW

The rise in popularity of replica prop “garage kits” (on account of their construction in small, non-factory settings) has been celebrated by celebrity DIYer Adam Savage, and hundreds of “Youtubers” alike. DIY Prop replicas are becoming so sophisticated it can be hard to differentiate them from originals.

For our latest Design Challenge, The Fab Lab is celebrating STEM by hosting our own replica prop making competition. As scientists, artists, engineers, and inventors the Fab Lab staff believe the foundation of prop making, especially in science fiction requires a seamless blend of innovation, problem solving, creativity, and craft. Your challenge is to fabricate a replica of an original science fiction prop used in a movie or a TV show. The more convincing your replica is, the greater your chance of winning.

FAQ

What is a prop?

A prop is any inanimate object that an actor interacts with. There is a wide range of props that vary on how they are used and what they are used for. Props are created by the “property department” (also called props department) which is led by the prop master.

How is a prop different to a costume?

Typically, if you wear it, it’s a costume. If you hold it, it’s a prop. However, there is some grey area here – a helmet worn by an actor can be considered both costume and a prop, while a cape or gown would be considered costume.

What about scale?

We will accept full size and scaled replicas, so long as there is precedent for a scaled version. In many cases, the original prop was scaled due to size and budget constraints – think of the Millennium Falcon or Titanic models. Scaled down versions of large models and props are permitted. Smaller props that are intended to interact with an actor should remain true or close to life-size if possible.

Why Science Fiction?

Science fiction has been called the “literature of ideas“, and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations. Since science fiction is centered around exploration it has predicted several actual inventions such as the atom bomb, robots, and AI. Science fiction provides the perfect STEM platform for design, fabrication, and engineering.

What do you mean by replica?

A replica for this competition is an imitation or copy of a prop, with an emphasis on recreating the aesthetics in as much detail as possible. Since the original prop might very well be a replica itself, operating parts are optional and not necessary.

RULES AND REGULATIONS:

  1. The Challenge is open to anyone in middle school, high school, or a post-secondary educational institute within the continental USA.
  2. Participants must be 18 years or older or provide consent by a parent or guardian over the age of 18.
  3. Participation is only open to individuals. No team entries will be accepted.
  4. Only 1 entry per person is permitted.
  5. Prop replicas must be related in some way to, or invoke, science fiction.
  6. Judges will select finalists from the online submissions. These finalists will then be asked to deliver and leave their fabricated replicas at the Fab Lab for in-person judging.
  7. Once judging has been completed, an awards ceremony and exhibit of all the physical entries will be held for competitors, winners, VIPs, guests, and judges.
  8. Competitors presenting work that is not their own will be disqualified.
  9. No projectiles, metal blades, pyrotechnics, or functional firearms.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Documentation of your completed replica
    1. QTY 5: high-quality, still, color, digital images of your finished replica. (jpeg, jpg, tif, tiff, png, pdf)
    2. Preferably on a neutral (white, grey, black) background
    3. Multiple views are suggested (top, front, side, perspective, etc.)
  2. Documentation of the original prop
    1. QTY 5: high-quality reference images of the original prop. (jpeg, jpg, tif, tiff, png, pdf)
    2. Movie Stills, magazine photos, documentation, plans, etc.
    3. The more detail these provide the better (scale, size, detail, finish, color, weathering)
  3. Evidence of fabrication
    1. QTY 5: high-quality photos documenting your production and fabrication techniques and process. (jpeg, jpg, tif, tiff, png, pdf).
    2. Should span the process from beginning to end
  4. Completed on-line questionnaire and application

JUDGING CRITERIA:

  1. Accuracy, attention to detail, authenticity (0-10 points)
  2. Build quality, craftsmanship, and detail (0-10 points)
  3. Inventiveness, creativity, problem solving, working with limitations (0-10 points)
  4. Choice of materials (0-10 points)
  5. Aesthetics: painting / finishing / weathering (0-10 points)
  6. Functionality such as lights, sounds, mechanical and moving parts (0-10 points)
  7. Display base, case, or presentation (0-10 points)

JUDGES: (TBD)

  • Movie Prop Maker / Special effects artist
  • Smithsonian/air and space museum
  • Director / Actor
  • Fabricator
  • Cabinet Maker/Theater/set designer

PRIZES:

Awards will be presented in each of the following categories:

  • Post-Secondary
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize
  • High School
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize
  • Middle School
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize

 WORKSHOPS: (TBD)

 TERMS & CONDITIONS:

  • Agree to be bound by the decisions of the judges.
  • Warrant that you are eligible to participate.
  • Warrant, to the best of your knowledge, your work is not, and has not been in production or otherwise previously published or exhibited.
  • Warrant neither the work nor its use infringes the intellectual property rights (whether a patent, utility model, functional design right, aesthetic design right, trademark, copyright, or any other intellectual property right) of any other person.
  • Warrant participation shall not constitute employment, assignment or offer of employment, or assignment.
  • Agree participation does not entitle to compensation or reimbursement for any costs.
  • Agree Northern Virginia Community College and all affiliates have the right to promote all entries and winners.
  • Winners will be contacted by NOVA Fab Lab staff to get their contact information and any other information needed.
  • Winning Product will be chosen based on the Rules and Requirements.
  • Winning individuals or teams will be required to collect prize(s) at a chosen NOVA campus and agree to be photographed with their winning designs.
  • Winners agree to the following NOVA Fab Lab/NOVA Community College Graphics Release:

I hereby give the right to take, use, publish, display, broadcast, or print – in any media – photographs, slides, digital images, films, and audio or video recordings made in conjunction with the Fab Lab, to the full extent in which I am included. I understand that such sounds, images, and video may be used for instruction, promotion, advertising, and any other lawful           purpose.

For additional information visit the Design Challenge website or send questions via email to novafablab@nvcc.edu (use the subject heading “2022 Design Challenge”)

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

 

Fab Lab This Month

Fab Lab Offerings

Product Design Incubator:

Do you have a brilliant idea for a new product? The NOVA Fab Lab is hosting out first Product Design Incubator for NOVA students to learn design thinking, develop entrepreneurial skills, and prototype and build a product at the NOVA Fab Lab.

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

Apply by Jan 27 at fablab.novastem.us/PDIapply

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


NOVA Makers

NOVA Makers is a special program at the NOVA Fab Lab in which members can utilize advanced fabrication equipment to work on personal and class projects. ONLY open to high school students/teachers, NOVA students, and NOVA faculty/staff.

Members have access to 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, a UV flatbed printer, a large format printer/cutter, and a plastic thermoforming center.

How do I join?

Membership is initiated upon signing-up to become a Maker  and by demonstrating an understanding of our rules and regulations by completing the online orientation session, and subsequently passing a quiz. The orientation and quiz can be found by enrolling in our NOVA Makers Canvas course at the links below.

NOVA Students, Faculty, and Staff
High School Students

Member are free to use the lab during open lab hours and may use machines as they get certified. More details on this program can be found in the Membership Handbook.

Register for machine certifications at fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up

Machine Certification

Mondays | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays | 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Fridays | 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Member Open Labs

Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays | 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fridays |9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 5:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturdays | 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Makers By Design NSF Grant

3D printing in progress, a real hand is touching a 3D printed-hand

Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses

Makers By Design (MBD) will strengthen the engineering technology pathways by providing professional learning for K-12 teachers, running digital fabrication summer camps, and hosting design challenges. The project is aligned with NSF and aims to broaden participation in STEM through community outreach and engagement. Makers By Design 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.

Outcomes:

Each Year, the MBD grant provides 5 days of professional learning focused on Design Thinking for 12 educators, digital fabrication summer camps for 96 middle and high school students, bi-annual design challenges for secondary and post-secondary students, and a digital lesson plan repository focused on design thinking and digital fabrication.

MBD Grant Flip Book


Design Thinking Fellowship:

NOVA will be recruiting for their second cohort of Design Thinking Fellows later this year. This NSF-sponsored program is open to college faculty, middle and high school teachers, and informal STEM learning professionals.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and non-linear way.

During this 9-month fellowship, participants will learn how to integrate design thinking into their pedagogy through a professional learning institute, teach during a 1-week summer camp, and lead their classes through a design challenge. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,200 for participation.

Applications will be available in late Fall 2023. Contact systemic@nvcc.edu with any additional questions.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, The IET Interface, at http://newsletter.novastem.us to keep up with application information and other fellowship opportunities at NOVA.


Makers By Design Grant Abstract:

Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses Award Abstract #2055324

Manufacturing and engineering industries face a looming gap in skilled workers, with an estimated 2.4M positions projected to go unfilled by 2025. This project aims to help fill this gap by improving the preparation of the needed technical workforce. To do so, it will establish a Professional Learning program in design thinking pedagogy for secondary and postsecondary educators. The curriculum will focus on design thinking projects that involve digital fabrication techniques, including 3D printing, laser engraving, and Computer Numerical Control milling. The Professional Learning program is expected to improve the educator’ teaching practices and enable them to update existing curricula and lesson plans to better align with industry-relevant skills and techniques. The project also intends to create a community of practice around design thinking in digital fabrication that will build a beneficial network among secondary teachers, community college faculty, makerspace educators, and regional employers. It is expected that the project will support 36 secondary and post-secondary educators who will teach more than 3,000 K-12 and undergraduate students in the northern Virginia region. These students will have a greater interest in and be better prepared for technical careers in manufacturing and engineering.

The overarching goal of the project is to use Professional Learning to move digital fabrication instruction beyond the reproduction of simple objects. Instead, the project will train educators to use pedagogy and cognitive strategies to embed design thinking into their digital fabrication lessons and courses. As a result, students will learn to use design thinking to build complex, useful objects. The project’s specific aims include: (1) create a professional learning institute; (2) host digital fabrication summer camps at NOVA and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington; (3) host a semiannual design and digital fabrication challenge; and (4) establish an online resource library of projects and lesson plans created and refined by educators in the community of practice. The project is expected to advance: understanding of the pedagogies that help to develop student interest in manufacturing and engineering; the capacity for Professional Learning to facilitate the integration of design thinking into classrooms and makerspaces; and the extent to which a capstone design challenge may foster sustainable change in instructional practices. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

 

Fab Lab Design Challenge

 

Congratulations to our NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge Winners for Spring 2022!

The NOVA Fab Lab held an in-person awards ceremony on Thursday, June 16th to recognize the Spring 2022 Design Challenge winners. As the ceremony’s highlight, students were able to see their designs realized as the actual fabricated products were revealed to them for the first time, alongside family members and friends. Participants also received their prizes, networked with judges and sponsors, and toured NOVA’s state-of-the-art Fab Lab after the event. This year’s challenge was for middle school, high school, or college students to design or refine a product to improve any area of their school. Sponsors for the Design Challenge were BAE Systems, Micron, Amtek Company, Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering.

Design Thinking and creative solutions to common challenges are a prominent feature in STEM education and the technology workforce, making the Design Challenge a touchstone for talented young minds to generate ideas in an equitable way. The NOVA Fab Lab’s mission is to decrease the growing skills gap in the Digital Fabrication arena by providing students a more holistic fabrication experience, including access to the most advanced processes, training in 3D Modeling and design, and a foundation in the principles of Design Thinking and creative problem solving.

With a goal of broadening participation and meeting students where they are at, NOVA allowed student entries in any format, including hand-drawn submissions. This was done to re-focus the goal away from simply displaying digital proficiency and more toward ‘solving a problem’ in their community. “One of the Fab Lab missions is to empower students to think and fabricate in unison and help them unlock their potential to recognize and solve complex problems” said Richard Sewell, NOVA’s Fab Lab Coordinator.

Prior to the final submissions, the NOVA Fab Lab provided 16 free Dominating Our Design Challenge prep sessions in February and March. The first, entitled Using Design Thinking, provided a process for moving an idea to a functional solution. The second, Learning the Tools,helped participants learn the strengths and weaknesses for rapid prototyping on four common fabrication technologies: laser cutting, 3D Printing, CNC Routing, and plastic thermoforming. Dominating Our Design Challenge sessions were utilized by 141 participants in 4 locations: Prince William Public Libraries, Arlington Tech, SERVE Family Shelter, the NOVA Fab Lab, and virtually.

After the design submission deadline of April 17, the Fab Lab received 62 total entries, comprised of 123 participants. Once submitted, participants were judged based upon their digital or hand-drawn designs and written descriptions. The top three then had their winning designs fabricated by our Fab Lab team using a CNC router, woodshop equipment and hand tools as well as a Stratasys F370 3D printer and received their fabricated products at the ceremony.

The 1st place award was won by a two-person team consisting of Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington from The Nokesville School for their product titled, iDesk, which is a desk with an iPad screen and charger built-in. The iDesk solves the problem of having to charge laptops and is purposed so that teachers can send assignments directly to the desk tablet. Eli and Logan won the top prize of $500 plus an Ender-3 S1 3D printer, certificate plaques, and their fabricated product.

NOVA’s own Carmen Chica earned 2nd place with her All In Chair design, a desk with a wide backplate chair composed of two adjustable arms to create right-handed and left-handed usage, so all students feel included. Carmen was awarded $300, a 3D printer, a certificate plaque, and her fabricated product.

The 3rd place award went to Harris Lechtman, from George C. Marshall High School for his Study Buddy Organizer, which offers a solution to limited desk space through an attachment that holds a phone, a drink, pencil slots and other sections for desk items. Harris won $100 plus the 3D printer, plaque, and his fabricated product.

Fab Lab Coordinator Lance Lacey reflected on the payoff of a design coming to realization: “I always enjoy seeing the students expressions as they interact with the physical prototype of their idea for the first time. Before it was an idea and a sketch, but then they see an actual functioning product!”

There were also three honorable mention designs: Eva Torrico from Thomas Jefferson Middle School submitted a Terretami Fork, which combines a spoon, fork, knife, straw, chopsticks, and a milk puncturer all into one reusable utensil.

Tyler Freeman, Connor Freeman, and Lucas Morton from MOT Charter High Schooldesigned a Recyclable Lunch Tray with biodegradable and recyclable material that can be vacuum-formed to allow for bulk-production.

Devin Gerdes, from NOVA, was recognized for Print Catcher, which is a customized basket that prevents sheets from touching the ground once they have been printed.

The Design Challenge is made less of a challenge for NOVA SySTEMic to organize thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: BAE Systems (special thanks to David Sargent and Hannah Wilson), Micron (Zuzana Steen and Robert Simmons), Amtek Company (Alex Baddock), Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering (Arlene Evans and Barry Dewberry–Arlene is a NOVA Alumna!)

Industry representatives also served as Design Challenge Judges: from BAE, Jim Sturim (a Project Engineer) and Elly Taylor (a Test Technician). From Digital Realty, Karen Petersburg (a Design Manager), and from Dewberry Engineering, Carmen Bere (a Project Engineer).

The Design Challenge also received stellar support from NOVA, including Dr. Chad Knights, VP of IET and College Computing; IET Dean Paula Ford, Dean of Math, Science, and Engineering; Dr. Abe Eftekari, NOVA SySTEMic Program Manager; Aleksander Marthinussen and Kelly Persons from the NOVA Foundation. NOVA Faculty Nina Lord and Michael Spiller also brought their classes over to the Fab Lab to participate.

Additional recognition and thanks to Kristen Burnham from Prince William Public Libraries, Michelle Van Lare from Arlington Tech, Brittany Greer from Rosie Riveters and Amrata Sahasrabudhe from SERVE Family Shelter.

Finally, special recognition goes to the NOVA Fab Lab team including Lance Lacey, Richard Sewell, Brendan Murphy, Kai Le and Valerie Bierhuizen, who developed, strategized and implemented Design Challenge procedures for months, as well as providing effective outreach to get all participants and sponsors involved.

NOVA SySTEMic Coordinator Brendan Murphy reflected on the focus of student creativity: “We built the challenge to be intentionally open-ended to allow for a wide variety of solutions. It’s truly exciting and inspiring to see the creative ideas that students design.”

First place winners Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington had some sage advice for aspiring future Design Challenge participants; “No idea is a bad idea,” said Eli. “Don’t stress out, because you have a lot of time to do it. You spend most of your time brainstorming. Keep it simple,” Logan added. “If you have a good idea already, don’t stress yourself trying to improve it, just tweak the small things.”

The inaugural Design Challenge Ceremony in July 2021 began the process of bringing back in-person events to the Fab Lab. Going forward, the challenge will be held twice-a-year, in both the fall and spring semesters and is open to middle school, high school and college students.

More information about the Fall Design Challenge will be available here and on the NOVA Fab Lab page by the end of the summer.

#WeDoSTEM #DesignThinking

Design Thinking Fellowship at the Fab Lab

Saturday May 7th marked the last day of professional learning for the educators in the Design Thinking Fellowship! Teams had worked over the semester to design a LEGO storage solution for a user with specific needs, and this was their chance to prototype and test their ideas.

After all this preparation, educators built small scale “rough prototypes” of their designs using cardboard, hot glue, and common crafting materials. Fellows then gathered testing data from their prototypes before presenting their work and explaining their thinking to their peers.

Next, fellows will be practicing teaching what they learned during SySTEMic’s digital fabrication summer camps. Working in groups of three, educators will deliver modified version of the LEGO challenge they just completed to elementary and middle school students across the region.

Fellow Dahlia Henry-Tett, NOVA faculty, reflected on the experience:

“We have to be in the place of a student more frequently. We sometimes forget what it fills like to start, to try things in a different way. Being here as an instructor, as a teacher, allows me to feel like a student again, to see the struggles that they’re going through, trying to create things. It allows me to be better as a professional. Also the skills I’m learning for Design Thinking will carry into my classroom and allow me to use a different method that will help these students think differently about how to approach things.”

Design Thinking Fellowship For Educators

Our first cohort of NOVA Design Thinking Fellows (high school teachers, informal STEM learning professionals and college faculty) is training with us at the NOVA Fab Lab to bring #DesignThinking to their students.

Applications for the second cohort of 12 Design Thinking Fellows will be available in the Fall. Sign Up for our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter for updates.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and non-linear way.

Design Thinking Fellow Activities:

  • Complete the Professional Learning (PL) Institute at NOVA’s Fab Lab, focused on digital fabrication and design thinking.
  • Practice teaching PL topics at a 1-week summer camp
  • Submit an entry to the bi-annual Fab Lab Design Challenge
  • Create and implement PL classroom activities

In all, Design Thinking Fellows complete 60 hours of professional development and receive a $2200 stipend.

This fellowship is funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant #2055324 entitled Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses

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

 

Fab Lab Activities in December

 

Save the Date for December Tours and Workshops!

Dominating our Design Challenge Series
College students, high school and middle school students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to enter the Fab Lab Design Challenge that will be released in February 2022.  The Challenge is sponsored by our industry partner, BAE Systems, and all sessions are offered free of charge.  Although the challenge’s mission is to inspire innovation in fabrication, we want those with great ideas to participate, regardless if they have little to no experience on these topics.  To support applicants, we are offering the following prep session:

Dominating our Design Challenge: Using Design Thinking
This virtual session will explain the five steps of Design Thinking to provide participants with a repeatable process for moving an idea to a functioning solution. The session will include examples of Design Thinking best practices, virtual team exercises in brainstorming, and a reference guide.  Free and virtual format via Zoom.  Two session choices:
Mon 11/29: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/9: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)

Dominating our Design Challenge: Learning the Tools
Whether it is turning a digital design into a 2D, 2.5D or a 3D model, or building a physical model from scratch, this in-person session will focus on four common fabrication technologies (laser cutting, additive manufacturing-3D printing, CNC routing, & plastic thermoforming) that can be used to bring your idea into physical space.  This session focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different processes and how they can be used in rapid prototyping.  Participants will be able to see equipment demonstrations of how each process works.  Free and in-person at the NOVA Fab Lab (Manassas campus).
Mon, 12/6: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/16: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)


Tours
NOVA Fab Lab guided in-person tours will be provided for participants to view the spaces and equipment in the Makerspace, Woodshop, and college Mechatronics labs. Open to the public, no registration required .
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location: NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address: 10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Mini-Workshop Laser Cutting: Holiday Decoration 

The Lab will be open to the public for a mini-workshop where participants can create a personalized Laser Cut Holiday Decoration. Participants can come and go at any time. The workshop is FREE, no registration required.
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location:
NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address:
10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Find more information at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html