Our Mission

The Center for Educational Networks and Impacts (CENI) inspires, connects, and impacts our region, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation. Our mission is to advance high quality teaching and learning opportunities in formal and informal preK-12 and higher education contexts and become a leader in STEM workforce development. We collaborate with stakeholders to increase equitable learning opportunities for historically marginalized and underserved populations.

The CENI Team

Jake Grohs
Jake Grohs | Interim Director
Phyllis Newbill
Phyllis Newbill | Associate Director of Educational Networks


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). Since the center was established, it has tripled in size. The Center hosts Virginia Tech’s relationship with the Science Museum of Western Virginia, as well as the Liaison Network with the Roanoke Center, Reynolds Homestead, and 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.