Category Archives: Engineering Technology

DCO is Getting Bigger and NOVA is at the Forefront

T.J. Ciccone, NOVA DCO Faculty and VP of STACK Infrastructure, shares insights on teaching and managing in a mission critical field.

You’ve recently been named a 2022 Education Champion by Infrastructure Masons – congratulations! Can you tell us how that came about and how you felt about it?

In 2017, Northern Virginia Community College approached me and asked if I would be willing to help start their data center operations course. First, I helped develop some of the coursework to be implemented, then they asked me to teach it. In January 2018, I held the first data center operations course, part of a fully accredited program at the college. In September 2018, the college launched the first-ever two-year degree program designed specifically for data center operators in the state of Virginia. It’s an ideal program for a state now known as “the home of the internet.”

The class began with 12 enrollees. Now the program has gained so much momentum that I teach two cohorts of the course with room for up to 50 students. About 85% of my students are now working full-time in the data center business, and most of them are people who had never set foot in a data center before.

Infrastructure Masons is a global, non-profit, professional association of infrastructure executives and technical professionals. This year, I was honored and humbled to have been named the 2022 Infrastructure Masons Education Champion. So many people have played a part in this, and I am very appreciative! I would like to thank STACK Infrastructure, Beth Ciccone, Northern Virginia Community College, and AFCOM Potomac Chapter for helping me further the education of our future data center workforce.

As far as your Data Center career, what lit the flame for you? How did you get into it?

Like most people in the data center business, I got into it by accident. I was a Chief Mechanical Operator while serving onboard the USS Enterprise, where I was responsible for the daily mechanical operations of the nuclear power plant. When I left the military, I spent ten years in retail, and I was looking to get out of retail and go to law school. While going through that process, I got a call from a former military member and a dear friend of mine who was the director of operations for a data center company in New Jersey.

I started working there about a week later.

You are VP at STACK Infrastructure and busy with many projects related to DCO. You are also a professor at NOVA. Why is it important for you to teach?

Five years ago, one of the statistics brought to my attention was the need for data center industry personnel will grow more than 15% in the next 5-10 years—and that was back then. Since then, the number of industry personnel has increased vastly. When the pandemic shut everything down and the use of the “Internet of Things” grew, many people were driven into the data center business.

The data center industry has tried to increase diversity and inclusion across the board, especially in regard to STEM students who are trying to find their way into something.

At the same time, I teach because I realize that the opportunities given to students from working in the data center can literally change their lives overnight. When I was asked to join the data center business, my first question was, “What’s a data center?” Even though it’s been 15 years since I entered the industry, many people still ask me that same question. I am working to change that.

What’s your philosophy of teaching in terms of connecting to students?

I look at every student like each one has the ability to be in this industry. There may be varying levels of impact, but each student can do it. That’s how I look at them and how I connect to them. Have you ever seen any movie where there’s a drill sergeant that everybody hates and then loves by the end? I think that is me in a way. On day one I make it clear that I do not teach remotely for a reason. In this business, we are on-site. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were in person. For 15 weeks, these students need to commit to being there for at least 14 of those because mission critical works the same way. We’re not giving out $25,000 a year jobs. These are $100,000 salaries. If you want it, you must put in the work to get it. That’s kind of the way it starts off. Of course, then you get to know them, and you get to know their story. I have individual meetings with each one, and then I cater the learning from there.

What are some of the success stories you have seen from students in the DCO program moving forward into a career?

80% of the students that have passed my class currently work in the data center business. It started with 12 people the first year, then went to 15, 18, and finally 21. Now I teach twice a week on Mondays and Fridays because we expanded to two cohorts since there were so many students. We recently crested 100 students who have been a part of the program. To think, five years ago, 50-something of those students had never even heard of a data center, and now they’re working in the industry. At our STACK Infrastructure site, NVA01 in Northern Virginia, nearly half the existing staff at that building came from the Northern Virginia Community College program. The data center industry will only grow; NVCC pointed out this last year that during the pandemic, community college enrollment across the board declined, except for in the engineering technology space.

What would you say to students who are considering DCO as a career field but don’t necessarily see themselves as technically gifted?

Many students start the program without basic knowledge of the industry. NVCC has the only fully college-accredited coursework in the data center business. Our curriculum breaks concepts down in a way that students of all levels can understand and enables them to dive into the industry. This program produces students that understand all sides (telecom, fiber networking, engineering operations, etc.). Finding people with a broad knowledge is challenging, and our program is not only turning out high-quality students, but students that know both ends of the industry—utility to rack and what’s going on inside the rack to connect it to the internet.

NOVA will soon have a state-of-the-art Data Center Training Facility at the Woodbridge Campus. How will that change the game in terms of awareness and training?

There’s nothing like this in the United States. They are building a $5 million functional data center in Woodbridge, Virginia. It will allow us to expand the program for more students. Right now, we’re limited to 20 – 24 per class, but their classroom sizes will be bigger, and it’s expandable at the same time. It’s really going to give students the hands-on experience that they need. Aside from that, one of the amazing things about STACK being a huge supporter of this program is that on three of the 15 class nights, the students come to STACK and get to see what it’s like on the inside.

How has NOVA SySTEMic/NOVA IET been helpful to you in connecting education to industry?

It’s almost like the opposite. Working in industry allows me to connect industry to education. For example, there’s a lot of data center events that I get to invite the students to, and those groups encourage the students to attend golf outings, Christmas parties, etcetera.

How does diversity, equity, and inclusion factor into filling the talent gap in the DCO market?

Progressing DE&I is a major initiative in the data center industry, and the same goes for Northern Virginia Community College, which is a big supporter of STEM and working with national programs like “Girls Who Code.”

I’m on the board at AFCOM Potomac, another organization supporting the advancement of data center and IT infrastructure professionals, and I help run their education committee.  We run an internship program over the summer, and the money raised from the internship program goes to directly support students who are going into the program that I teach. It’s grown so much so that everyone who takes my class in the fall gets their class entirely paid for. There’s no paperwork associated with it. There’s no background check. There are no qualifying prerequisites. The course is paid for everyone from all walks of life.

Additionally, STACK Americas created a program that is specifically designed to bring in students from diverse backgrounds for paid training without subtracting from the viable headcount needed to run a site so that students can learn and train on the company dime for one year and become a fully operational critical technician. I’ve never seen an employer do that—ever.

What’s your work/life balance in this field? What do you enjoy in your spare time?

Instead of the term “work/life balance,” I prefer the term “work/life flow.” I am a big believer of work hard, play hard. In addition to my career at STACK, as well as my contributions as a professor, I have way too many hobbies. I play golf and disc golf. I’m at the gym every morning, religiously, at 5:20 a.m. where I’m either lifting weights or doing yoga. For years, I maintained my status as a triathlete while in this industry. My expectation for myself is that I need to be available 24/7, and I am ok with that.


Click here for more info on Data Center Operations at NOVA. We offer a 2-year A.A.S. and and 1-year C.S.C.

You can register for T.J.’s course: ENE 195: Introduction to Data Center Operations for Spring 2023. There are several spots still available (classes start mid-January), but it will fill up quickly as the Spring class will focus on getting students into the internship program over the summer and getting jobs filled!

 Click here to watch a video on enrolling at NOVA.

#DCO #InDemandTech #HighTechHighWage

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

 

NOVA Graduate Spotlight – Hispanic Heritage

Alec Vaca is a NOVA graduate who received an A.A.S. in Automotive from NOVA and later pursued a degree in HVAC before switching to an A.A.S. in Engineering Technology. He interned for Micron and worked there for 3 years. Afterward he interned for Digital Realty and is now employed full-time as an IT Manager. We caught up with him at the end of Hispanic Heritage month to ask about his experiences getting to where he is now and how NOVA helped him achieve his goals:

How did you first learn about NOVA?
I heard about NOVA during my Junior (11th) year in High School. Much of what I knew originally came from rumors of being a lesser-university experience for a much lower cost.

How were you first inspired in STEM?
My fascination with STEM originated also in my Junior year in High School when I took an automotive basics class and following my senior year in High School with a trade class for small engines. I thoroughly enjoyed understanding each component’s purpose in the overall picture of manipulating energy for a specific task.

Since joining NOVA, describe your experiences?
I have learned from industry experts who teach students, such as myself, with a passion to equip the future labor force. My experiences made in each lab have been stelar thanks to NOVA cultivating a healthy culture empowering my professors to teach to their best abilities.

How has NOVA equipped you in your career path?
NOVA has equipped me through many opportunities to advance my career, ranging from a plethora of degree-specific scholarships to unique Internship paths with global companies such as Micron Technology and Digital Realty.

How have you balanced work needs while pursuing your education?
Balancing a work life while pursuing an education is admittedly my greatest weakness. I have learned early on that it is possible but sacrifice to some “me” time is required. An effective balance usually means I cut down on recreation on my down time to finish deadlines from both work and school. I have been blessed to have considerate managers and professors, so that also is a huge weight off my shoulders!

What excites you about the technology industry?
The fact that we are in a unique time in the world where competition for the “latest & greatest” is at its peak.

You recently started a new job, Congratulations! Describe how you were able to secure the opportunity?
Thanks! I put into practice my persistence in finding opportunities that would benefit me and my goals. My first step was focusing more on my classes I was taking and to see what would suit my future aspirations in the workforce. Following this I took advantage of the Career Learning Readiness Institute (CLRI) training modules, offered by NOVA, for seeking employment and had the tremendous opportunity to tour STACK Infrastructure, which sealed the deal on which industry I would love to grow into. Finally, after discussing my aspirations to my professors, I was made aware of an opportunity to intern at a leading Data Center in Loudoun, which resulted in said company knowing who I was as an individual and vice versa.

What are your ultimate career goals?
I believe my ultimate career goal would be, as my father says, “Bloom where you’re planted”.

Are there any professors or mentors who you want to recognize along your journey?
My top three professors/mentors I have been fortunate to interact with would be Reginald Bennett for his passion to teach, Laura Garcia for her counseling and Amir Mehmood for his care for us the students.

What have you most enjoyed about your time at NOVA?
My best moments at NOVA have been struggling with other students to understand the material we must learn and the relationships that have sprouted from our conflicts. Nothing says comradery like a class of students working together to get to the next part of the lab!

How does your life in the professional world differ from life as a NOVA student? What are the expectations?
Learning a topic at NOVA, with physical labs included, is different from learning in the workforce. My classes give me a great foundational understanding of STEM concepts and the ability to test controlled sections of an area being explored. In the workplace, I can develop my skills I have learned, usually without control found in labs I have done at NOVA. As far as expectations go, at work I am expected to do my best and if I do not, then my team suffers the most. In my classes, I am expected to learn and if I fail to, then I alone suffer the most.

What would you say to current NOVA IET students who would like to follow your example? What should they do and what should they expect?
What worked for me was building relationships with my professors and classmates so I could learn more about who I was as a person and where I wanted to end up at. I would not be where I am today without pushing myself out of my comfort zone to look for opportunities, to which many professors are eager to help those seeking.

Is there anything else you want to share?
My parents often say a variation of “Cherish the good times and learn in the hard times”, which I find fitting.

 

DCO Tech Advancing In-Demand Technology

NOVA’s DCO Tech Grant will be highlighted at the NSF ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference in October.

On October 26-28, NOVA SySTEMic director Josh Labrie and Stack Infrastructure’s VP (and NOVA professor) TJ Ciccone will present DCO Tech at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators’ (PI) Conference in Washington D.C. The conference will bring together more than 850 NSF ATE grantees and their project partners to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education.

NOVA’s DCO Tech Grant supports NOVA’s Engineering Tech Programs and 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.

This year, as part of DCO Tech, NOVA SySTEMic conducted successful Bridge Programs for high school juniors and seniors (bridging the gap between HS and college), and introduced students to Data Center Operations and Engineering Technology. Bridge students toured 2 NOVA campuses, visited industry partners (Micron and STACK Infrastructure) and conducted hands-on activities at NOVA’s mechatronics and data center labs. The program featured guest speakers from NOVA’s student support offices, IET faculty members, and industry volunteers. 20 high school students completed the 2-week program and earned 1 college credit with the opportunity to earn their OSHA 10 certification. NOVA provided free transportation between NOVA campuses to reduce barriers to participation.

One of the hallmarks of DCO Tech’s Bridge programs is that they can improve attitudes towards STEM disciplines and awareness of career opportunities. One student reflected “I really enjoyed building connections and understanding the different fields of STEM. I never understood data centers in this depth. I’m very glad it’s in-person and we get to see NOVA campuses.”

In addition, DCO Tech helps provide career readiness for NOVA students through the Career and Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI), which enhances leadership skills and develops career connections, teaching students how to interview, create a standout resume, network effectively, and manage interpersonal skills. Students who complete CLRI will receive priority consideration for paid internships with industry partners. New CLRI courses begin on Oct 18 and you can sign up for info sessions on Oct 4, 6, and 11. Applications are due on October 12. Find out more and sign up at https://www.nvcc.edu/career-services/clri.html

Another component of DCO Tech is the K12 Educator Externship, which raises awareness for Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations career pathways among secondary educators. This Engineering Technology Externship is designed to provide teachers, counselors, and administrators with first-hand knowledge of engineering technology and data center operations through industry site visits and engagement with NOVA’s related programs of study. This year we had 18 externship completers who visited Micron Technology, Stack Infrastructure, and NOVA’s Fab Lab to help inform them on creating an action plan to improve the pipeline of students entering the workforce as technicians for DCO or Engineering Technology. In polling, 100% of participants rated the overall externship as above average or excellent. All participants expressed moderate to very confident abilities in educating their colleagues on guiding students to ET and DCO careers.

One educator said “we were given a clear picture of the type of student that would succeed in this industry, the skillsets needed, along with the curriculum. This, along with actually touring the facility, increased my awareness and as such, I feel more confident in sharing this with students, parents, and teachers.”

**We will be continuing the Summer Bridge Programs and Secondary Educator Externship Programs in 2023. Complete this form to be notified when registration is live. You can also sign up for the monthly NOVA IET newsletter which will have details about the 2023 programs as soon as they are available.

To learn more about Engineering Technology at NOVA visit https://www.nvcc.edu/academics/areas/applied-technologies/engineering-technology.html

For more about Data Center Operations at NOVA, go to https://www.nvcc.edu/academics/areas/applied-technologies/data-center-operations.html

To learn more about the NSF ATE PI Conference, click here

 

Bridge Programs Prepare Students For College

We just completed our first series of Summer Bridge Programs in #InformationTechnology (IT), #EngineeringTechnology (ET), and #ComputerScience (CS)! These programs are intended to “bridge’ the gap between high school and college with a pathway that leads to further technology education and in-demand, well-paying technology careers.

The IT Bridge Program performed hands-on activities such as cisco packet tracer and networking, the Virginia Cyber League and cybersecurity, and web site development.

The CS Bridge Program engaged in hands on programming activities such as using recurrent neural networks to generate text based on an input model, building games in Unity, and using the Virginia Cyber League to do the “password ripper.

Students in the Engineering Tech Bridge program worked on engineering cable termination, used the Fab Lab smart factory and other mechatronics equipment, and also had the opportunity to tour Micron and STACK Infrastructure’s Data Center.

One Computer Science Bridge student concluded that the most effective experience in the program was “learning the difference between IT and Comp Sci [and] what it takes to work in the Comp Sci field.”

An IT Bridge student reflected “the greatest takeaway of the program was seeing how people like myself think and how others don’t see the world. The skills in IT will be of great benefit. The instructors were excellent and I loved how they were caring, honest and used real world knowledge…”

Another Bridge student said “the greatest learning for me was about how to be successful in college.”

Bridge Programs are made possible through and NSF DCO Tech Grant, which is geared toward expanding regional capacity for training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations

Learn more about these pathways at NOVA:

Information Technology: https://bit.ly/3yJhEjf

Engineering Technology: https://bit.ly/3ONHJmD

Computer Science: https://bit.ly/3ye03ym

Rising High School Juniors and Seniors can apply for next summer’s Bridge Program starting in Spring, 2023.

Sign up for our newsletter (The IET Interface) for developing info or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #EveryProgramAchieves #EveryStudentSucceeds #CollegePrep #BoldlyNOVA

DCO Tech Grant

Bearded Black IT Engineer Standing and Posing with Crossed Arms in the Middle of a Working Data Center Server Room with Server Computers Working on a Rack.

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

Awarded in July 2021, the NSF Advanced Technological Education grant supports NOVA’s Engineering Tech Programs. DCO Tech is designed to increase regional capacity for training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations through expanded recruitment, employment training, and increased collaboration between industry, K-12 educators, and faculty.

NOVA’s Engineering Technology program offers 2-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) and 1-year Career Study Certificates (C.S.C.), as well as a Data Center Operations specialization.

Northern Virginia is the largest data center market in the United States and is forecast to continue growing. Additionally, Micron Technology has committed to a $3B expansion of its regional manufacturing capacity. DCO Tech is partnering with employers to meet the demand for engineering technicians.

What the NSF DCO Tech Grant Supports:

Bridge Programs for High School Juniors and Seniors

Through the DCO Tech Grant, NOVA IET offers FREE 2-week summer bridge programs to help juniors and seniors get ready for college. During these programs, students receive an introduction to one of three in-demand technology fields: Computer Science, Information Technology, or Engineering Technology, tour at regional employers, and meet NOVA faculty, students, and staff. Bridge students will gain critical skills and have the opportunity to receive college credit.

For more information about our Summer Bridge Programs go to: https://www.nvcc.edu/academics/divisions/it/programs.html


Externship For Secondary Educators

>> For secondary school CTE administrators, teachers, and/or counselors who are interested in guiding students into a successful tech career.

This externship equips educators to build awareness for Engineering Technology (ET) and Data Center Operations (DCO) careers in the region and the educational pathways NOVA provides to prepare students for these in-demand and high-wage careers. Educator Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:

  1. Attend an industry tour of Micron Technology, where attendees will see the daily operations and gain insight into career opportunities in Engineering Technology. 
  2. Attend an industry tour of a data center, which will provide first-hand visuals of a data center’s daily operations. There will also be a presentation on data center careers and opportunities. 
  3. Attend a tour/professional development day at the NOVA Manassas Fab Lab. The goal is to create clear pathways and provide materials to guide high school students into NOVA’s Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations programs. 

>> For more info contact Natasha Shuh-Nuhfer at nschuhnuhfer@nvcc.edu 


Externship For Industry Professionals

>> For engineering technology professionals and data center technicians to inspire the next generation of engineering technicians.

This externship engages professionals in the Engineering Technology industry to support high school students who are learning about technician careers, and equips professionals to teach NOVA’s engineering tech programs. Industry Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:

  1. An introduction to NOVA’s engineering technology programs and facilities.
  2. Learn credentials required to teach as an adjunct instructor at NOVA and explore the pathways to becoming a credentialed engineering technology or data center operations faculty member.
  3. Develop and deliver two lessons for the summer bridge program to inspire high school students to pursue careers in Engineering Technology.

Participants will attend an in-person professional development session at the NOVA Fab Lab (NOVA Manassas Trailside Building) where they will create their lesson presentation for NOVA’s Engineering Tech Summer Bridge Program.

>> For more info contact Natasha Shuh-Nuhfer at nschuhnuhfer@nvcc.edu 


Internships with the Career and Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI)

>> More information about CLRI Internships supported by the DCO Tech Grant coming soon


Veterans

>> More information about DCO Tech Veteran Programs supported by the DCO Tech Grant coming soon


NOVA Academic Programs Supported by the DCO Tech Grant:

Click Here for more info about Engineering Technology at NOVA
Click Here for more info about Data Center Operations at NOVA

Supporting Technology Programs at NOVA

NOVA IET: NOVA’s Information and Engineering Technology Program. Learn more about Information Technology, Engineering Technology, Data Center Operations, Cybersecurity, Information Systems Technology, and Cloud Computing https://www.nvcc.edu/iet.

NOVA SySTEMic: NOVA’s STEM Program to equip students for in-demand technology careers and expand regional capacity for STEM talent. Learn more about STEM Careers, NOVA Fab Lab activities, Summer Bridge Programs (in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Engineering Technology), STEM Camps, Teacher Professional Development, STEM Competitions, Expos, and more: https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #HighTechHighWage

Staff Spotlight: Allison McElfresh is a 2022 NOVA Reward and Recognition Program Awardee

Congratulations to IET Advising’s Allison McElfresh for being a 2022 NOVA Reward and Recognition Program awardee!

The Reward and Recognition Program recognizes administrative and professional faculty, classified staff, teaching faculty, and adjunct faculty who have demonstrated outstanding contributions and exemplary performance.

Allison McElfresh is the strategic lead for advising for students in any of NOVA’s Seventeen Information and Engineering Technology associate degrees and career studies certificates. She brings 14 years of experience as an Advisor and Program Analyst at NOVA to her role.  According to Allison, “One of the greatest challenges of the advising position is finding a balance between responsive advising, where we provide support to students who contact us because they know they need help vs proactive advising, where we try to anticipate problems our IET students might encounter and then attempt to solve those problems before the student even becomes aware of them.”

Her vision is to use data more effectively when advising students and to create resources that help students more easily find the information they need regarding course selection and transfer planning.

So far, she has been able to combine Python programming and Excel to produce tracking sheets that show which students have completed which requirements for their degrees or certificates, so the IET Advisors could identify students who had completed a CSC without being aware of it, so they could be contacted to apply for graduation.  The sheets have also been useful in identifying students who had applied for graduation but forgotten to transfer classes in from another college, allowing those students to complete the transfer process in time.

Allison regularly takes IT classes at NOVA herself in order to acquire the skills to better solve advising problems.  She has been taking courses in Python Programming and Advanced Database Management, and will be working towards the new Data Analytics Specialist CSC which should be added to NOVA’s curriculum sometime in 2023.

“I can’t wait to see the ways in which Machine Learning and Data Analytics can help me find creative ways to advise my students better.”  If you have any advising questions for one of the IET degree or certificate programs, you can reach Allison McElfresh and the other members of the IET Advising team at iet@nvcc.edu.

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