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Community STEM Teams Fabrication Mentoring Robotics Robotics Competitions STEM Education Student to Workforce Teacher Professional Development Tech Equity Women in STEM

STEM Camp Student to Instructor Spotlight: LisBeth Valladares Hernandez

STEM Camp Student to STEM Camp Instructor

Lisbeth G. Valladares Hernandez has been around NOVA and STEM for a long time. She was a STEM Camp student and now excels as a STEM Camp instructor. We asked her a few questions about her experience.

1. How were you first inspired in STEM? 

My journey in STEM began in 8th grade, when I decided to participate in The Micron Challenge: Rube Goldberg Machine. At the time I was the only student in my middle school that showed any interest, after listening to the announcement over the schools intercom. Thankfully I had two teachers that were willing to stay after school with me, my wood technology teacher and my science teacher. As I learned the many ways simple machine can be used in day-to-day challenges. It all became a game of intentionality and purpose. 

2. What did it take for you to get where you are? 

Once I started high school I knew I wanted to continue exploring more of what STEM consisted of. I once again convinced two teachers to help me out and bring SeaPerch Underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to my high school and for them to be my robotics club sponsor. I went out scouting my high school and personally invited people from diverse groups of friends to join underwater robotics with me. 

3. Describe your experience as a minority woman in STEM.

Being in STEM as a minority women has not been easy, specially because a lot of this is unknown territory for my parents. They have simply trusted in me, that my passions are rooted in knowledge seeking and educational growth. As a first generation student I have had to go out and find resources and financial assistance to be able to participate in STEM activities. My parents have supported me through it all, they have sacrificed so much for me.

Being a women in STEM has been hard because I have been in positions where my voice is the only female voice in the room at times. It takes a special kind of courage to pave the way, and I am proud of myself for having done so for other Latinas that follow. 

I also have to thank Zuzana Steen from Micron and Aleksander Marthinussen from NOVA SySTEMic. Although I only saw them in the judges chair, they always affirmed me to continue my academic career in STEM.

Without people like them or my teacher my STEM journey would not have lasted this long. 

4. What you want to pass on as an instructor and where you want to go in your career?

The reason I was inspired to become an educator is because of all of those teachers along my STEM journey that sacrificed their time after school to sit with me and even if they didn’t fully understand what I was doing. I want to be that teacher for others and pay back my community. 

5. How has NOVA and NOVA SySTEMic equipped you in your career path?

Having been a dual enrolled student with NOVA lead me to NOVA SySTEMic, after working on the engineering challenge during the semester, I was handed a poster and guided to check out the summer camp and apply for the internship positions. 

Since then I have had the wonderful opportunity to participate as an assistant instructor in summer camp, assist in Expo events, create STEM in-class curriculum, develop and present teacher professional development, and lead as Head Coach for the NOVA VEX IQ Community Teams, winning 2nd place at the VEX Robotics State Championship and qualifying for the World Championship this year! 

I am excited to see what my STEM Journey has in store for me. All of this would not be possible without NOVA SySTEMic and its amazing opportunities for someone like me. 

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Design Thinking Fabrication Fellowships NOVA Fab Lab STEM Camps Teacher Professional Development

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.”

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Design Thinking Fabrication Fellowships Professional Development

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

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3D Printing Design Thinking Engineering Design Challenge Fab Lab Fabrication Laser Cutting Machine Learning Makerspace Making NOVA Fab Lab

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

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Automotive Technology Career & Technical Education Fabrication HVAC NOVA IET Career Pathways Nursing STEM Careers Teacher Professional Development

Upcoming STEM Careers and STEM Teacher PD Events

STEM Careers

Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) STEM Outreach Program, NOVA SySTEMic, is offering STEM Careers Virtual Workshops – Career & Technical Education.

Zoom sessions are open to high school students, NOVA students and the community. In these sessions, NOVA faculty and staff will share information about educational programs and industry representatives will share information about careers and current issues in their field.  ​

Heating, AC and Refrigeration
Weds 11/3: 3:00-4:00 pm.
(NOVA Professor John Meeker & Women in HVACR President Lauren Roberts)

Nursing
Mon 11/8: 3:00-4:00 pm.
(NOVA MEC Interim Dean of Student Services Kimberly Nicely, NOVA Nursing Program Graduate & HCA Reston Hospital Critical Care Nurse, Diana Hernandez and Director of Critical Care Nurse Director of Acute Care Services, Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center and Haymarket Medical Center, Eyad Abdel Latif RN, MSN, MBA, CCRN-K, LSSGBC)

Automotive Technologies
Tues 11/9: 4:00-5:00 pm
(NOVA Professor Laura Garcia-Moreyra & NOVA Automotive Technologies Graduate/Current BMW Automotive Tech Michelle Reyes)

Register at career.novastem.us/Register


STEM Teacher PD

NOVA SySTEMic is excited to announce the scheduling of STEM Teacher Professional Development for the 2021-2022 school year. Virtual and in-person professional development will be offered to educators in the areas of fabrication, programming, and technology integration. All sessions are free of cost to STEM educators within the NOVA region! For the latest session information, schedule, and to register, educators can visit http://teacherpd.novastem.us/Register

December Sessions

Micro:bit STEM Applications – Intro Sessions
Wednesdays: December 1st  & 8th from 4:00-6:00pm via Zoom

This course will introduce educators to the BBC micro:bit and applications to various STEM subjects. The 2-part intro series will focus on getting to know the micro:bit using block and text-based coding. Three follow-on sessions will be offered in 2022 in the areas of science, math/health, and art/music. Educators can choose which sessions they want to attend. All attendees will receive their very own micro:bit upon completion of the intro series. Attendance at the intro sessions or previous experience using the micro:bit is highly recommended for the subject-specific follow-on sessions. This two-part series is open to any NoVA region STEM educators.

Demystifying 3D Printing
Monday, December 13th from 4:00-6:00pm via Zoom

It whirs and bings, and if you’re patient, it prints you a cool miniature Han Solo, but once the novelty is over, how do you make better prints? Understanding your 3D-printer, and how the print settings effect everything from strength, surface quality, print time, and supports is crucial for success. In this session, we walk you through how the printer works, common troubleshooting solutions, print settings, and post-processing techniques. Session is targeted to educators with beginner to middle-level knowledge of 3D printing. Topics discussed are broad and translatable to variety of manufacturers. Sessions are open to any NoVA region STEM educators.