Category Archives: STEM Education

SySTEMic Fellowship

The SySTEMic Fellowship is a 10-month paid program designed to develop high school students, college students, and professional educators through hands-on experiences and training on vital STEM content with the opportunity to apply these concepts outside of the classroom to promote STEM education in Northern Virginia.

Those admitted to the program will choose one of three fields of focus: Fab Lab Makers, Robotics, and Micro Electronics. The program contains training sessions on the chosen field of focus, opportunities to contribute to existing programs, as well as a call to action to continue to implement ideas learned in the fellowship.

Training for Fellowships are scheduled for Sept 17 and Oct 1, 2022.

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

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 STEM fellowship opportunities at NOVA.

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. 

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

Staff Spotlight: Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer is a 2022 NOVA Reward and Recognition Program Awardee

Congratulations to NOVA SySTEMic’s Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer 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.

Natasha serves as the STEM Education Coordinator for the Manassas Campus and leads SySTEMic’s K-12 STEM teacher professional development efforts. She has been instrumental to the success of SySTEMic programs, stepping in to provide support wherever needed. Last summer, Natasha supervised the virtual cybersecurity STEM camps and taught the final Introduction to Cybersecurity camp when camp instructors had to return to their districts for the semester and were no longer available.

With COVID concerns going into the new school year, Natasha spearheaded the design of virtual professional development opportunities for STEM educators to learn to program with the BBC micro:bit, explore cyber and technology innovations, and understand the nuances of makerspace machines and software.

In January, Natasha eagerly stepped in to help support NOVA’s Career and Leadership Readiness Institute while also managing her teacher professional development responsibilities, eventually taking over the program in March and bringing it to its completion in mid-April.

Natasha can now be found supporting NOVA-awarded National Science Foundation grants focused on teacher professional development.

Thank you, Natasha, for your impact on the NOVA community and the region’s educators!

VEX Community Teams and Friday Night Robotics


VEX Community Teams (VRC & VEXIQ)
Registration Closes Oct 15 http://vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register

VRC (VEX Robotics Competition) Teams
Participants will build MOBY, a VRC robot to compete in the VRC game Tipping Point. Students will learn how to compete in the VRC yearly competition, make an engineering notebook to document team decisions on robot design, develop a game strategy and create an autonomous program to play the game. This session is perfect for students who want to compete in robotics.

After students learn the game, develop a game strategy, and have a solid foundation of engineering and programming, they will be allowed to make advanced modifications to their robot as well as explore more advanced programming features to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their robot on the field.

In addition to the weekly meetings there are Friday Night Robotics in the Fab Lab (every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month) where it is open to any teams to come build, program and scrimmage. This is optional for the community teams but encouraged.

There will be opportunities to compete in robotics competitions as well and teams can register for an additional fee to participate.

Oct 5 through Dec 14, 2021 on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm at the NOVA Manassas Trailside Building.

Grade Level: 6th to 10th

Registration Fee $349 ($50 discount when you register 2 people)
http://vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register

VEX IQ (VIQC) Teams
Participants will continue building FLING, a VIQC robot to compete in the VIQC game Pitching In. Students will learn how to compete in the yearly challenge, make an engineering notebook to document team decisions on robot design, develop a game strategy and create an autonomous program to play the game. This session is perfect for students who want to compete in robotics.

After students learn the game, develop a game strategy, and have a solid foundation of engineering and programming, they will be allowed to make advanced modifications to their robot as well as explore more advanced programming features to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their robot on the field.

In addition to the weekly meetings there are Friday Night Robotics in the Fab Lab (every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month) where it is open to any teams to come build, program and scrimmage. This is optional for the community teams but encouraged.

There will be opportunities to compete in robotics competitions as well and teams can register for an additional fee to participate.

Oct 7 through Dec 16, 2021 on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm at the NOVA Manassas Trailside Building.

Grade Level: 4th to 8th

Registration Fee $349 ($50 discount when you register 2 people)
http://vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register


Friday Night Robotics at the NOVA Fab Lab

The NOVA Fab Lab is open on Friday nights for VEX teams to scrimmage and work on their robots throughout the year.

The 1st and 3rd Friday’s of the month are designated for VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) teams and the 2nd and 4th Friday’s for VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) teams.  A game field will be available along with space for teams to work.

Sessions will start on Sept 17 from 5 to 10 pm and continue until the Virginia State VEX Championship in March 2021.

A one-time registration fee of $10 per participant is required for this recurring event at fablab.novastem.us/FridayNightRobotics (NOTE: Parental consent is required in the registration process as each participant needs to register – coaches cannot sign-up their entire team in one registration).

#WeDoSTEM

Fab Lab Activities in October

NOVA Makers 

NOVA Makers is a new program at the Fab Lab in which members can use the lab to work on personal projects, participate in regional/national design challenges, and/or gain more skills in a Maker community setting.  Membership is open to NOVA college students, faculty & staff, and high school students.  Register at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up 


Middle School Maker Club 

Starting Saturday, October 16th, middle school students will be able to participate in a Maker Club at the NOVA Fab Lab. The use of fabrication equipment (such as 3D printers, laser cutters, plastic thermoforming machines, etc.) in conjunction with other technologies will allow for integrative making experiences. Register at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up    


Bristlebots & Book Read: This is What An Engineer Looks Like 

On Saturday, October 9th from 10:30am to 12:00pm, young children will be able to build and test a motorized bristlebot, read and hear from the author of This Is What An Engineer Looks Like, and learn about STEAM careers and engineering.  The 17-year-old author and illustrator, Ayonnah Tinsley, will be participating via live stream to read and discuss her book.  Ayonnah is a Congressional Award Gold Medal recipient for her extensive volunteer efforts and STEAM awareness activities.  Her book educates young students on STEAM careers with an emphasis on encouraging women and minorities to enter STEAM fields.  Participants will receive a copy of the book and be able to take home their bristlebot.

After the session, an optional tour of the Fabrication Lab will be available.  Open to children in kindergarten through 4th grades. Cost is $45 per child or free for children of NOVA Students.  Open to the public. Pre-registration is required at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up.   


 3D Printing Challenge – Tiny House Winner! 

Congratulations to Daniel Moone for his winning design of a 3D Printed Tiny House!  This challenge was open to all participants in four of our 3D Printing Fabrication Camps this summer.  Campers had to meet certain specifications while using CAD software to design their scaled models.  Each design was then fabricated using additive manufacturing (Stratasys F123 series 3D printers) and judged based upon the physical prototype.  Daniel received our top prize of an in-person tour of the Fab Lab, a Parallax Scribbler 3 Robot kit, and his fabricated tiny house.      


Grant News: NOVA awarded NSF ATE Grant Award – Makers By Design

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded NOVA a three-year grant, set to begin in September 2021, to establish a Professional Learning program in design thinking pedagogy for secondary and postsecondary educators. Makers By Design (MBD) as we call it, is officially titledSupporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses.

Makers By Design Overview:

> Manufacturing and engineering technologies industries are facing a looming skills gap.

> Employers identify increasing need for soft skills (critical and design thinking, problem solving and communication) as manufacturing transitions to high-tech.

> There is a need to align engineering and engineering technology with industry defined technical and soft skills.

> MBD is a professional learning (PL) program for secondary and postsecondary educators focused on developing design thinking pedagogy through digital fabrication (e.g. 3D printing, laser engraving, CNC) techniques.

> Aligned with NSF includes broadening participation in STEM for underrepresented minorities.

> MBD will foster a community of practice between teachers, faculty, makerspace educators and industry.

The grant 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 postsecondary educators who will teach more than 3,000 K-12 and undergraduate students in the northern Virginia region. These students will have 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 to: (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 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.

The NOVA Fab Lab has a Makerspace utilized by many NOVA programs and the community as well as a new Makers Program for college students coming up this fall

Go to http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up for current Fab Lab program/event registration and check out the NOVA Fab Lab Page on our website.


Outside Resources

Computer Science Instructional Resources & Professional Learning

In partnership with Prince William County Schools (PWCS), NOVA SySTEMic developed instructional resources that align with the 6th Grade Computer Science Standards of Learning.  Funding for this project was provided by the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Advancing Computer Science Education grant that was awarded to PWCS.  Additionally, professional learning sessions were offered to educators by NOVA SySTEMic staff to introduce and guide educators through the created activities.  The resources are available to all educators on the #GoOpenVA site at  https://goopenva.org/courseware/lesson/4078/overview . 

 

IET Convocation Fall 2021

 

The Fall 2021 IET Convocation was held in-person on August 18 at the NOVA Pender 3 Administrative Building. Even behind masks, everyone was happy to see one another after almost a year-and-a-half of remote learning! There were a lot of pressing and relevant items to cover that will move IET forward in preparing students equitably to build regional STEM talent.

Dean Paula Ford began the event with Faculty & Staff self- introductions.  Everybody was able to meet IET’s new Associate Dean Christianne Nieuwsma for the first time in person, as well as the new IET Advising Specialists, Allison McElfresh and Sara Ali. New Faculty introduced were Laura Kelley (AN – IT), Shirley Cash (MA – IT), Mohammad Iftikhar (WO – IT), Xue “Peter” Bai (LO – IT), Ronnie Dasgupta (IT/Engineering Technologies) and Amir Mehmood (LO– Engineering Technologies).  With introductions came a few departures.  It was announced that both Kurk Lew (MA) and Kevin Reed (AL) have retired; and, Tierney Pitzer (LO) and Zahra Ogun (IET Staff) have recently resigned.

VP of IET & College Computing, Chad Knights spoke about IET’s promising enrollment and G3 funding. The subjects of mask mandates, CSC guidance and vaccines brought several questions.  Dr. Knights also spoke of DCTP (Data Close To Practice) for this Fall, and presented a common read for the division, “Equity Talk to Equity Walk” by Estela Mara Bensimon, Lindsey E. Malcom-Piqueux, and NOVA College Wide Convocation speaker Tia Brown McNair. All were asked to read this book for ongoing discussions by September 30th (NOVA libraries have options for obtaining the book for Staff & Faculty).

NOVA Systemic Director Josh Labrie spoke about grants that we have been awarded and new grants we will be applying for.  Jack Bidlack, IET Director of Strategic Initiatives, spoke specifically about our partnership with the United States Naval Community College (USNCC) and the speakers series that Brittany Hollis, IET Career Coach, is putting together this fall and spring for IET students. The morning session concluded and participants broke for lunch. Following lunch, breakout sessions regarding news on curriculum, and students filled the remainder of the afternoon. It was a successful start to our fall semester!

For more on NOVA IET programs, including Cloud Computing, Data Canter Operations and Information Technology go to https://www.nvcc.edu/iet

Follow us in Twitter @NOVAIET 

#WeDoSTEM

 

VA Ranked #1 State for Tech Talent Pipeline

Virginia ranks as the “Best Business Climate” and the “Top Tech Talent Pipeline” in the nation, according to Business Facilities’ 17th Annual Rankings Report, released this week. Home to the largest concentration of data centers in the world, Virginia also tops the magazine’s “Cybersecurity Leaders” chart.

“Virginia has undertaken the most impressive effort in the U.S. to fill the national shortage of skilled workers in the data-centric sectors that are driving economic growth in the 21st century,” said Jack Rogers, editor-in-chief of Business Facilities.

“World-class universities are partnering with industry giants to add thousands of new computer science grads to Virginia’s rapidly expanding tech workforce. This combination positions Virginia to defend its tech talent pipeline leadership for years to come,” Rogers added.

California, New York, North Carolina and Maryland round out the top five, respectively, in Business Facilities’ new Tech Talent Pipeline state ranking, which evaluates each state’s tech talent investments, STEM-oriented education programs and partnerships between industry, universities and EDOs, among other weighted factors.

Business Facilities noted that Virginia is injecting more than $2 billion into a Tech Talent Investment Program that cumulatively represents the largest state commitment to computer science education, aiming to create an additional 31,000 computer science graduates in the Commonwealth while strengthening computer science programs at the elementary and secondary school levels.

Click here to download the full report.

Official Tweet from NOVA IET

#WeDoSTEM

Grant Award for NOVA Engineering Tech/DCO

NSF Funds DCO Tech: Expanding Regional Capacity for Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations Education.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded NOVA a three-year grant, set to begin in July 2021, to advance NOVA’s educational pathways to engineering technology careers.

Principle Investigator (PI) Josh Labrie, Director of NOVA SySTEMic, the college’s STEM outreach program, is excited to build community awareness for NOVA’s engineering technology programs: “This is an excellent moment to raise awareness at the secondary level for these high-paying and in-demand career opportunities in the region by reaching students, educators and career counselors through the grant.”

Co-PI’s Amir Mehmood and TJ Ciccone, NOVA IET faculty members for the engineering technology and data center operations (DCO) specialization, will lead several pieces of the project including a 2-week summer bridge program and additional data center industry engagement. Ciccone, who is Vice-President of Operations at STACK Infrastructure alongside his NOVA IET Faculty role, said “I couldn’t be prouder to participate in this program and provide students the access they need to build the lives they want. I believe in the power of education to transform lives, and this grant is just one of the many initiatives to support that mission.”

Virginia has the largest data center market in the United States – almost as much as the second-through-fifth largest markets combined. Due to favorable regulations adopted by the Virginia legislature, data center capacity is forecast to continue growing. As advanced computing techniques, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, increasingly require access to cloud-based infrastructure, the need for data center technicians, engineers, and technicians will grow quickly alongside data center capacity.

Correspondingly, Micron Technology has announced a $3 billion expansion in northern Virginia to address the need for trained technicians and engineers.

DCO Tech: Expanding Regional Capacity for Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations Education is primarily focused on studying and expanding the educational pathway of students preparing for careers in engineering technology. The grant will expand NOVA’s newly revised engineering technology programs through improved recruitment, employment training, and by fostering a community of practice between industry, secondary educators, and NOVA faculty. It will also expand the workforce pipeline for engineering technology in the northern Virginia region and partner with industry to ensure that students are prepared for careers in the data center industry.

DCO Tech will increase the regional supply of engineering technology technicians through the following components: (1) a two week summer bridge program  focused on career exploration and hands-on learning; (2) an internship preparatory programdesigned to support students in developing career readiness; (3) an externship for high school educators and industry professionals to develop first-hand knowledge of regional career pathways for engineering technology; and, (4) a veterans outreach program to inform military-connected students of NOVA’s engineering technology programs.

If interested in learning more about NOVA’s engineering technology or data center programs go to www.nvcc.edu/iet or contact IET@nvcc.edu

 

 

Virtual STEMinars and Fab Lab Tours this Fall

Virtual STEMinars are back! We are running virtual FAB LAB tours and info sessions and virtual workshops that include a Maker Club, a Laser Fabrication Workshop, Video Game Development and more, starting in October. Many STEMinars are HANDS-ON, as we will send you materials that you work on with an instructor virtually leading the course on Zoom.

Events and courses listed below:

LLI Fab Lab Virtual Tour & Industry 4.0
These special sessions will include images and videos of the facility, an overview of Fab Lab activities, and a presentation on Industry 4.0 (IoT).  Session options are being offered to members of the Manassas Lifelong Learning Institute on October 16th and November 13th at 10:00 am.

Register at https://reg138.imperisoft.com/LLI-Manassas/Search/Registration.aspx
(must be a LLI member to register for this event).

Virtual Tour & Info Session:  NOVA Fab Lab
Would you like to learn more about the NOVA Fab Lab? Then attend this virtual tour and live information session.  You will have an opportunity to ask questions, see images and videos of lab activities, and receive an overview of Fab Lab programs. Open to the public and registration is required. Free.  November 6th from 2:00-2:45 pm.

Register here:  http://steminar.novastem.us/Register

Virtual Maker Club
Have your kids take a break from the screen and tinker with some hands-on STEM activities.  Over the course of four weeks a weekly project will be provided that will include activities such as:  building a tiny robot, creating circuits, using a DIY conductive probe to design experiments, building a wind turbine to move objects, and completing a design challenge using items from around the house.  Directions and printed extension activities will be provided so that participants can explore at their own pace.  An optional live virtual session will be provided once a week to provide an overview, support, sharing, and assistance with extension activities.  A materials kit will be mailed, but participants will need: a Phillips screwdriver, a fan, 100 pennies, tape, scissors, liquid glue, and recycling bin materials.  Recommended for children in grades 4 – 8.  Cost $72 ($60 for NOVA staff/faculty/students). Two session options beginning October 26th andNovember 24th.

Register here:  http://steminar.novastem.us/Register

Laser Workshop:  Design Thanksgiving Pie Toppers
Design personalized pie toppers that will then be fabricated and mailed to you.  You will learn how to design in Inkscape, a free graphics and drawing software, while learning how lasers can be used to cut and engrave. Ages 16 and older. Cost $20 ($16 for NOVA staff/faculty/students). Live virtual session on November 2nd from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Register here: http://steminar.novastem.us/Register

Makers by Design Challenge Series
The goal of a Maker is to produce better products – but what defines a “better product?” What is a better product in the age of Digital Fabrication? Machines might have assimilated hard skills, but the soft skills necessary for innovation have yet to be adopted.  This 4-part STEMinar and optional lab(s) addresses these concerns by identifying the soft skills required in Digital Fabrication. Topics will include: Design Thinking, brainstorming, user-empathy, rapid ideation, prototyping, and making as an iterative non-sequential process. The series will conclude with the presentation of a design challenge and competition, with the winning members’ product being fabricated in our own Fab-Lab. Open to current 9-12th graders and college students.  Sessions run from 7:00 – 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th .

Registration is for all 4 sessions, while the Optional Labs have a separate registration.  FREE.

Register here:  http://steminar.novastem.us/Register

Video Game Development using Scratch
Enhance your Scratch coding skills while developing a video game!  Participants must have prior and intermediate level experience using Scratch.  A four-session series with each session building on the previous.  For grades 6 – 9th on Wednesdays Oct. 28th, Nov. 4th, 11th, & 18th at 7:00 pm.  FREE.

Register here:  http://steminar.novastem.us/Register