Our Mission

The Center for Educational Networks and Impacts will inspire, connect, and impact our region, the Commonwealth, and the nation. Our mission is to advance high quality SEAD teaching and learning opportunities in the P-12 contexts for all and become a leader in STEM work-force development from early childhood through professional practice.


In 2015, two previously existing offices on campus, VT-STEM and the Integrated Design + Education + Arts Studio, combined forces to form the Center for Research in Science, Engineering, Arts, and Design (SEAD) Education within the newly formed Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) at Virginia Tech. The Center updated its name in 2019 to the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts (CENI). In the five years since the center was established, it has grown from a team of three to a team of nine. The Center hosts Virginia Tech’s relationships with the Science Museum of Western Virginia, as well as with Montgomery County, Radford City, and Floyd County public schools. Center responsibilities include inspiring learners via large-scale events that bring learners and researchers together, connecting researchers to audiences for broader impacts of their research, building regional and statewide networks of STEM educators, and evaluating educational experiences of all kinds.

CENI's Goals and Accomplishments

  • Inspire: We offer safe, fun, and educational ways for lifelong learners of all kinds to learn and share at interactive events like the Virginia Tech Science Festival and ICAT Creativity + Innovation Day. Our Hokie for a Day program brings together volunteers, researchers, and learners in field trips throughout the year. 
  • Connect: We help researchers reach out to the community through a growing network across local school systems, informal learning sites, and a Statewide STEM Network.  
  • Impact: We support researchers with our broader impacts and evaluation expertise by participating in grant proposals ranging from small local projects to National Science Foundation CAREER awards. We also are building the PRIMED database to record outreach activities across Virginia Tech.

The CENI team was recognized by ARIS (Advancing Research Impacts in Society) with the 2020 Impact Innovations Award.

The CENI Team

Lisa McNair
Lisa McNair | Director
Phyllis Newbill
Phyllis Newbill | Outreach and Engagement Coordinator
Susan Magliaro
Susan Magliaro | Professor Emerita
Julee Farley
Julee Farley | VT-K12 Liaison, Montgomery County Public Schools
Kimberly Keith
Kim Keith | VT-K12 Liaison, Floyd County Public Schools
Jamie Little
Jamie Little | VT-K12 Liaison, Radford City Public Schools
Chelsea H. Lyles
Dr. Chelsea H. Lyles | Postdoctoral Associate for Outreach, Engagement, and Evaluation
Haseb Alim
Haseb Alim | Outreach Assistant
Cody Klein
Cody Klein | Assistant Evaluator