Category Archives: NOVA STEM Faculty

Engineering Tech Externship Program at NOVA

NOVA has 2 exciting Externship opportunities for 1) Secondary Educators and 2) Industry Professionals in Engineering Technology. These externships are supported by an NSF DCO Tech Grant.

1) Externship For Secondary Educators
Register at: 

>> 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. 

Micron Tours: April 5th or May 16th
Data Center Tours: April 22nd, May 20th, or June 30th
NOVA Fab Lab Tours/PD Day: July 22nd or 29th 

>> Register at:
>> For more info contact Matt Lambert at

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

2) Externship For Industry Professionals
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>> 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) on June 10th, where they will create their lesson presentation for NOVA’s Engineering Tech Summer Bridge Program, to be taught on either June 24th or 30th.

Virtual PD Sessions: May 5th, 12th, and 19th
In-Person PD Session: June 10th, 2022 at the NOVA Fab Lab
Bridge Program Instructing: June 24th or 30th

>> Register at
>> For more info contact Matt Lambert at

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

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:

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #HighTechHighWage

NOVA Adjunct Wins NVTC Data Center Champion Award

NOVA Adjunct Faculty T.J. Ciccone has been named the Data Center Community Champion at the 2nd annual NVTC Virginia Data Center Awards in McLean for his leadership, support, and contributions to NOVA’s Data Center Operations (DCO) program and students.

The virtual event was attended by more than 150 industry executives, economic development professionals and state elected officials to recognize individuals and projects that represent excellence in areas of sustainability, construction, support, and advocacy and community engagement. Northern Virginia is the largest data center market in the world, according to NVTC’s 2020 Impact of Data Centers on the State and Local Economies of Virginia. You can read more about the 2nd annual NVTC awards here.

Professor Ciccone is the Vice President of Critical Operations at Stack Infrastructure and has helped lead the way in Data Center Operations for our college community by creating industry engagement opportunities for NOVA students, building industry-driven curriculum and providing data center tours and on-site laboratory activities.

His class at NOVA, ENE 195 – Intro to Data Center Operations (DCO), is part of the NOVA Engineering Technology A.A.S Degree DCO Specialization as well as the DCO Certificate program and expands basic knowledge on how data centers work from an engineering standpoint. This course is the only fully college accredited data center program in Virginia and more than 70% of students who have taken the intro course are now working in a data center. Professor Ciccone is teaching in-person (with social distancing) this semester at the Loudoun campus.

He responded to his NVTC award by saying “I am honored to be named a Data Center Community Champion, and beyond grateful to Northern Virginia Community College for embracing the need for an accredited data center program. It expands and increases the available talent pool, the diversity of candidates for the labor force, and most importantly the opportunity for young people from all walks of life to enter a career in technology. To be part of this, the largest data center market in the world, is very humbling.”

Congratulations, Professor Ciccone – we’re grateful to have you at NOVA!


NOVA SySTEMic Goes Online!

STEMinars: Online Workshops and Professional Development

We offer STEMinars (STEM Workshops) throughout the year to bring new STEM technologies to light and new students into STEM. In addition, our STEM Education Coordinators work with each school division to provide hands-on technical training to support teachers in academic and co-curricular programs.

Now, in response to social distancing measures, we are launching Online STEMinars, led by STEM staff and faculty, so you never have to distance yourself from project-based learning! These video-recorded or virtually live sessions are offered for FREE and cover a broad range of STEM topics. Some of these sessions include introductions to design software, computer programming, electronics such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, 3D scanning, makerspace/fabrication equipment, robotics, and more.

STEMinars are designed to be an online resource for the community and will walk you through sample projects and design challenges so that you can develop STEM skills. Registration is required at least 24 hours before a session starts. Sessions run 30-60 minutes depending upon age level and topic.

NOVA staff are working remotely to make additional STEMinars available in the coming months so be on the lookout for new offerings on our website and social media.

Upcoming STEMinars

STEMinar: Cybersecurity Workshops
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00-12:50pm starting March 19 through end of May
Check out our popular virtual Cyber Workshops, presented in partnership with ISACA and NOVA faculty and staff. All sessions have different topics and speakers and are recorded for future playback. Topics include Continuity of Operations for the Home, Personal Security Tradecraft, Cyber for High School Students, Teachers, & Parents, and more.

> Register Now

For videos from past workshops click here

STEMinar: Robotics Competitions – A Strategic Approach.
Monday April 6 (4pm) for VEXIQ Challenge 
Wednesday April 8 (4pm) for VEX Robotics Competition
Then weekly through May on Mondays (VIQ) and Wednesdays (VRC)
Learn how to start the robotics season right! Afnan Ali, a world champion roboticist, will spend an hour each week working through game strategy. Participants will learn how to analyze and breakdown previous year’s games as well as document strategies that lead toward successful robot prototypes. This introduction on how to apply the engineering design process to competitive robotics is a great introduction for students, parents and mentors. Suitable for ages 10 and up.

> Register Now 

STEMinar: Intro to Programming with Python
Wednesdays starting April 8 through April 29 (all at 2pm)
Python is a programming language used to develop software on the web and in app form, including mobile. It’s relatively easy to learn, and can be used to process text, display numbers or images, solve scientific equations, and save data.

Intro to Python: Mad Libs (I/O, variables)
Learn about basic keyboard input, terminal output, and variables by writing a simple       Mad Libs game.

Python Branching: Text Adventure Game (if/elif/else)
Explore how to make decisions on the fly with if/elif/else statements in order to create a simple text adventure game.

Python Looping: Guessing Game (repetition)
Examine and use ‘while’ loops to have your user guess a random number until they run out of tries or get it correct. We’ll explore the dynamics of user feedback as well as scoring.

Python Collections: Hangman (managing lots of items)
After a brief intro to Python’s built-in list collection, we’ll use these data structures to implement a simple version of the classic word-guessing game Hangman.

> Register Now

STEMinar: Introduction to SketchUp.
April 10 (2pm) & April 23 (7pm)
SketchUp is a premier 3D design software that truly makes 3D modeling for everyone, with a simple to learn yet robust toolset that empowers you to create whatever you can imagine.

> Register Now 

STEMinar: Introduction to Inkscape.
April 14 (7pm) & April 30 (7pm)
This session provides an overview of the free software program called Inkscape, which helps the user transform ideas into a digital representation, which can then be converted to a physical product.

> Register Now 

STEMinar: 3D Scanning
April 14 (7pm) & May 1 (7pm)
3D scanning allows users to copy real objects for editing on software. Learn about the present and future possibilities of 3D modeling. We’ll discuss the current technologies such as Photogrammetry and 3D scanners and more emergent technologies such as NeRF (Neural Radiance Fields). 

> Register Now 

Digital Realty Mock Interview
Date: TBD

Fab Lab – Sewable LED Emoji Pin
Date: TBD

Fab Lab – TinkerCAD
Date: TBD


Faculty Award Spotlight – Babur Kohy

Babur Kohy – George B. Vaughn Leadership Award

Babur is an accomplished cybersecurity educator, researcher, and speaker serving as an Adjunct Professor of Cyber at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). He teaches at the NOVA Loudoun Campus and Reston Technology Center. His passion resides in educating students on secure human behavior, cybersecurity and connecting through conferences, workshops, and networking events. Outside of his academic career, Babur serves as a Cyber Advisor to public/private sectors, volunteers with multiple non-profit organizations, and is the founder of CyTalks, a platform for members of academia, community, and industry to discuss cyber matters. His research includes secure human behaviors, dark web, emerging technologies, organizational cyber resilience, fake news and intelligence manipulation. He holds a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity, Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and is currently pursuing Doctoral Degree in cyber.

Babur is a recent recipient of the The George B. Vaughan Leadership Award for Outstanding Adjunct Faculty. Winners of this award demonstrate consistent superior teaching and a commitment to providing students with instruction of the highest quality; adapt readily to student needs, interests, and problems; provide outstanding support for the growth and development of individual students; and demonstrate the use of relevant, contemporary information from their discipline in their teaching.

Babur can be reached at



New IT Faculty Spotlights – Michael, Ryan, and John

This month we turn the spotlight on 3 of our new IT faculty members: Michael Spiller, Ryan Ammons, and John McNally

Michael Spiller – IT Professor (Manassas)

 Michael Spiller has been a Business and Information Technology Professional since 1991.  He has worked in both the private and non profit sectors for over 25 years in a variety of Information Technology related positions with the last twelve years serving as the CIO and Vice President of Information Systems at The Heritage Foundation. He also owned a technology consulting business for over ten years helping small businesses set up hardware, software, database applications, training programs and implementing strategic plans to support their business needs.

During his career he has worked as a network engineer, Oracle database administrator, Help Desk Manager and software trainer.  He has managed projects to implement major software, hardware and security platforms as well as CRM and ERP implementations. These tasks have helped him have a good understanding of how technology works for any business environment.  He has served as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University teaching a variety of Business and Information Technology classes.  Most recently he taught Business and Information Technology classes at Osbourn High School in Manassas before transitioning back to college teaching.

Professor Spiller entered the field of teaching high school through the Virginia Career Switcher Program. This program provides an option for career professionals to enter the Virginia classrooms. It was the perfect program for Professor Spiller because it recognizes life and work experiences and teaches the core competencies to enter the field of teaching.   In addition to his Virginia teaching certification from the University of Virginia, Professor Spiller holds a Masters in Information Systems and Telecommunications (MS Johns Hopkins University).  His Bachelors of Science is in Management Information Systems from the University of South Florida.

He will be teaching the following  courses:  ITN 106 – Microcomputer Operating Systems , ITE 115 – Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts, ITE170 Multi Media Software, and ITD 256 – Advance Database Management.

In his spare time, Professor Spiller loves mountain biking, hiking, paddling boarding, running, scuba diving or skiing and being active outdoors.  He is also a high school wrestling coach at Osbourn high school. He is married to his wife Vanessa and they have two children.  His son Cole is a sophomore at The College of William and Mary and his daughter Courtney is a Senior at Centreville High School. He is also the proud owner of an English Springer Spaniel named “Beaver.”

Michael can be reached at

Ryan Ammons – IET Assistant Professor (Annandale)

Ryan is no stranger to NOVA. He was a part-time IT student at the Alexandria campus, where he volunteered to develop one of the first online student government polling systems. Ryan continued his connection to NOVA as an adjunct professor, prior to accepting a full-time position at Annandale.

He received a Bachelor’s in Chemistry (Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB). Ryan also received a Juris Doctor (Univ. of Alabama School of Law) and a Master’s in Software Engineering (George Mason Univ.).

Ryan’s career has mainly focused on software development and IT. He has over 20 years of industry experience, beginning as a high school intern with GTE, and later, Verizon. Some of the systems he developed as an intern are still in production today.

Ryan was an NSF Fellow in the Science in Motion program at UAB for three years. He developed and implemented new learning models, integrating technology and peer-based learning. During law school, Ryan traveled to Germany and Austria to teach courses to students bound for U.S. exchange studies. He went on exchange to Germany himself in high school and later interned in Germany as a law student. He has lived in Münster and Berlin, and is fluent in German.

He has worked as an IT Consultant, Database/Desktop/Web/Mobile Developer, CTO, and has been the sole proprietor of an IT and development consulting service for over ten years. Through projects based on current industry practices, including the use of cloud-based platforms, he hopes to prepare NOVA students for challenges in the workforce of today and tomorrow.

Ryan’s interests include foreign language, remote-controlled model aircraft, DIY electronics, geopolitics, law, and current affairs. However, he is most passionate about all things electronics and infotech. Over the years, Ryan has volunteered his time as a math, science and IT tutor.

Ryan can be reached at

John McNally – IET Assistant Professor (Annandale)

After multiple years as an adjunct for NVCC, John McNally comes to the Loudoun Campus as a full-time IET professor.  Previously, John had a successful career spanning more than twenty years as a senior technology executive for small to medium-sized companies.  A founding member of multiple technology start-ups, John has had the privilege to wear many hats including software developer, database administrator, network engineer and systems architect.

John holds a B.S. in Information Systems from Salisbury University and a M.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University.

And, John is the primary author of Informix Unleashed (SAMS division of McMillan Publishing, July 1997), which covers all aspects of developing and managing databases using the Informix database management system.

Outside the classroom, John has a love for event experiences and enjoys spending time with his family and friends attending live sporting events and concerts.

email John at

STEM Faculty Spotlight – Kwabena Konadu

Congratulations to Professor Kwabena Konadu,who will become the Edward H. Bersoff Cybersecurity Endowed Professor starting in August.

Konadu is currently working for SE Solutions as a consultant for the Department of Homeland Security. He teaches Cybersecurity and Information Technology courses at the Woodbridge Campus. His primary focus includes System Monitoring, Infrastructure Protection, Malware Analysis and Reverse Engineering, CyberRobotics, and hardware development. He spent the first 12 years of his career building and testing space hardware applications for nuclear vulnerability/survivability assessment, and more than 10 years working as an Information Systems Security Engineer. Professor Konadu is also a Faculty Coach and the Director of Engineering for Cybersecurity Competitions at the Woodbridge Campus where he is responsible for providing virtualization platform infrastructure for offensive and defensive cybersecurity. He holds an M.S. in Telecommunications Network and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University.

Professor Konadu can be reached at