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3D Printing Community Partnerships Engineering Design Challenge Engineering Technology Grants Laser Cutting Makerspace NOVA Fab Lab NOVA IET NSF Grants STEM Grants STEM Workforce Tech Equity

NOVA Awarded 3-Year “Makers By Design” Grant

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

The curriculum will focus on design thinking projects that involve digital fabrication techniques, including 3D printing, laser engraving, and Computer Numerical Control milling. The Professional Learning program is expected to improve the educator’ teaching practices and enable them to update existing curricula and lesson plans to better align with industry relevant skills and techniques. The project also intends to create a community of practice around design thinking in digital fabrication that will build a beneficial network among secondary teachers, community college faculty, makerspace educators, and regional employers. It is expected that the project will support 36 secondary and 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

Check out the NOVA Fab Lab Page

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Information Technology STEM Awards STEM Resources Online STEM Workforce Tech Fellowships

FAIT Fellowship for IT Honors Students

The Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship, is a two-year program funded by the U.S. Department of State and an excellent opportunity for community college honors students who are interested in pursuing an IT-related bachelor’s degree and a career in the Foreign Service.

The FAIT Fellowship provides up to $75,000 in academic funding for the junior and senior years in an IT-related bachelor’s degree, two summer internships (with stipends), professional development, and mentorship. Additionally, after successful completion of the Fellowship and the State Department’s requirements, the Fellow receives an appointment in the Foreign Service as an Information Management Specialist.

Many FAIT Fellows are community college alumni. The State Department wants to reach more community college students with this opportunity, and seeks to attract outstanding tech talent to the Foreign Service that reflects the diversity of the United States. Members of minority groups underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women and those with financial need are encouraged to apply. 

Applications for the 2022 cohort is planned to open on September 8, 2021.  Webinars and virtual info sessions will be offered throughout the fall semester. Please contact Monique.Dans@twc.edu for more info and to discuss ways to spread the word to honors students.

Here are a couple of resources to learn more:

#WeDoSTEM

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Computer Science Fab Lab Information Technology STEM Articles STEM Degrees STEM Education STEM Workforce

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

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Professional Development STEM Camps STEM Education STEM Workforce

The value of Instructor Training

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Every year before our summer STEM camps are underway we host instructor training to prepare teachers and students how to run our STEM camps. Instructor training week serves a dual purpose: to prep instructors with camp curriculum and operating procedures, but more importantly it expands regional STEM capacity through the professional development in STEM such as robotics, computer Science, CAD and cybersecurity.

As the STEM outreach arm of NOVA, our summer STEM camps (for 3 to 12 graders) have been active since 2009 and have increased from 48 students in the first year to over 600 this summer. Camps offered include Robotics, Rocketry, Programming, CAD-3D Printing and Cybersecurity, which are available throughout PWC, Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

During training each instructor goes through the curriculum as if they were a student taking the camp. For a robotics course that involves assembling, programming, and driving a robot. For more advanced subjects, like cybersecurity, instructors are drilled on securing open networks and operating defense techniques. For rocketry they build a rocket that will launch at the end of the camp week. This hands-on approach is essential in teaching and leads to effective instruction once camps are started.

Many of the instructors are students who have been inspired by previous STEM camps. Nate Wooley, a recent HS graduate and robotics competition veteran, wants to give back, saying “I started my robotics experience in a summer camp. It has completely reshaped my life and given me a passion that I can pursue. I have been participating in SySTEMic Solutions’ competitions and camps for 3 years now and recently won the VA VEX State Championship. Teaching for SySTEMic makes me happy that I can give other people the chance to enjoy robotics as I have.”

Another recent HS grad now engaged as a camp instructor, Cori Brodowski, also started in our summer camps and wants to help define a path for more girls in STEM. “I have always been the only teenage girl on my teaching team through the years. The most inspirational thing about this job is helping other girls get on their feet in STEM. I grew up with engineers as parents, and I’ve always excelled at math and science. I know a lot of girls don’t have that and are stereotyped as not able to do STEM careers. Working at STEM camps is a great opportunity to help girls see that they can break that stereotype and are just as capable at STEM as anyone else.”

Ryan Osweiler, an instructional technology and robotics coach at Triangle ES and one of the mainstay instructors for SySTEMic Solutions’ summer camps, is enthusiastic about what instructor training provides. “We never stop learning. I gather new ideas from coaches at training – even new ones. I enjoy seeing students who attended camp years ago come back and teach. Most of these students are in or have completed high school and/or college level robotics and bring valuable insights and knowledge.”

STEM camps and instructor training are inspirational, but NOVA is not just in the business of inspiration. Through this training we’re helping expand regional STEM capacity by providing co-curricular experience for students and teachers. But more than that NOVA has a large offering of STEM degrees and certificates through credit, adult learner and workforce development leading to careers in the regional workforce.

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STEM Workforce

CNN Money article on the demand for Robotics in the Workforce

Check out this article in CNN Money on March 20, 2012 

“Revenge of the robotics nerds: They’re in demand”

http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/03/20/robotics-jobs/?iid=HP_LN

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STEM Workforce

Oakton Patch article

Check out the article in the Oakton Patch on February 28, 2012

“Virginia Educational Changes Needed to Prepare New Workforce”

http://oakton.patch.com/articles/va-educational-changes-needed-to-prepare-local-workforce