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CENI Newsletter — August 2022

August 2, 2022

August 2022

The katydids have started calling in the evening, which means that summer is winding down, and we are making plans for the fall. I’ve spent a chunk of the summer directing camp at Blue Ridge Mountaineer, an experiential living history program for the Boy Scouts of America. I loved making lots of new friends, recharging my batteries, and applying so many different problem-solving skills at a time.

We’ve been working on CAREER and other NSF grants’ broader impacts, as well as preparing for the fall semester. Plans for Hokie for a Day fifth grade field trips, the Virginia Tech Science Festival, and ICAT Playdates are shaping up, along with new collaborations and projects. Keep reading for all the news.


Pictured left to right: Phyllis Leary Newbill and Chelsea Haines

CENI and CENI Partners in the News

  • Hosein Foroutan received an NSF CAREER Award to understand how plastic particles are aerosolized. CENI will provide broader impacts liaison services featuring a museum exhibit at the Science Museum of Western Virginia, as well as the evaluation of broader impacts. - read more
  • Junior entomologists attend Hokie BugCamp - watch video
  • TechGirls from around the world converge on Blacksburg - watch video
  • Virginia high schoolers BLAST into STEM education - watch video
  • Middle schoolers imagine a future in engineering - watch video
  • Summer camp takes to the sky with drones - watch video
  • $800,000 gift to fund commercial kitchen at Reynolds Homestead - read more
  • Innovation campus and Boeing host STEM career tour - read more

Broader Impacts

CENI was busy in July helping ten Virginia Tech faculty from six different departments prepare NSF CAREER grant submissions. CENI offers broader impacts planning, implementation, and evaluation services, in addition to coordinating educational outreach events each year such as the Virginia Tech Science Festival and Hokie for a Day fifth grade field trips.

CENI Educator Liaison Corner

Floyd County Public Schools

Wednesday, Aug. 10 - First Day of School

Looking for a way to communicate K-12 ongoings? The FCPS webpage now has a “Community Opportunities” link that will keep families up to date on residential and day-long summer camps, reading programs, and various activities. Check it out! Informational links can be shared with Kim Keith, VT-PK12 liaison at

Montgomery County Public Schools

Wednesday, Aug. 17 - First Day of School

Radford City Public Schools

Monday, Aug. 15 - First Day of School (PreK & Grades 1, 9)
Tuesday, Aug. 16 - First Day of School (Kindergarten & Grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

Virginia Tech Roanoke Center
STEAM Day 2022 is coming to Roanoke on Friday, October 28, 2022! Roanoke STEAM Day is hosted by partners that include the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center, Virginia Tech Ware Lab, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Science Museum of Western Virginia, Taubman Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Transportation, Radford University Carilion, Clean Valley Council and Virginia Western Community College. Registration is open now for exhibitors and those who wish to attend. 
Science Museum of Western Virginia
SMWV Summer camps are wrapping up. A huge "Thank You" to all of our guest speakers from VT who helped to bring science to life for our campers!

SMWV welcomes two Macaws on loan from the Indianapolis Zoo in August. These birds will be joining the parakeet garden for special programming and will be interacting with patrons. 

Dino Dig: A brand new exhibit is open that speaks to the dino lover in us all. Patrons can unearth prehistoric fossils and learn about the different organisms they once were. 

The Education Department is excited to announce an all new Lending Library. Educators from across our region can now "check out" resources from the SMWV collections. The Lending Library includes: Fossils, Dash & Dot coding robots, traveling chemistry labs, and a gem and mineral option.

Highlights from the Campus Engagement Network

Bio Tech Couture Project 

Two Biomedical Engineering students and two Industrial Design students came together and created BioTech Couture, transforming traditional fashion to incorporate biotechnology.

Funded partly by ICAT, these students were able to showcase their appreciation for fashion and the application of their studies through the project. Their designs were themed around the 4 elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, and include the use of biosensors to track things such as your respiratory rate. Click the link to watch the video of the planning and execution of these designers' ideas to merge art and engineering. 

STEM Saturdays at Wonder Universe

Wonder Universe, A Children's Museum continues to host STEM Saturday activities each Saturday throughout the summer months and into the fall from 10:30 am-12pm. It has been an exciting summer already with several unique demonstrations. If you or someone you know might be interested in leading an engaging STEM activity, art project, or demonstration for our visitors ages 0-10 on an upcoming Saturday, please reach out to Shelby Koninckx at To learn more about Wonder Universe, visit

New Fall 2023 Course

ENGE 2524: Exploring Service Learning Through Educational Outreach
Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:45 am, MAC 253A
Instructor: Chelsea Haines ( 

Students from all majors are invited to live out Virginia Tech’s motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) while gaining practical skills and experience desired by future employers. Students will explore the differences between traditional service learning and critical service learning experiences, and work in interdisciplinary teams to develop preK-12 STEM educational experiences that meet needs identified by community partners. Students will examine social identities, power, privilege, and inequities with a focus on preK-12 education systems in the United States.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
*Seeking preK-12 educational outreach partners!

Upcoming Deadlines and Events

8/9-8/12: Maker Camp 
8/22: Virginia Tech classes begin
9/5: Labor Day (No Classes - University Offices Closed)
10/7: Fall Break (No Classes - University Offices Open)
10/8: Hokie BugFest (located at Squires Student Center)
10/28: Roanoke STEAM Day 2022
11/12: Virginia Tech Science Festival

Our mailing address is:
190 Alumni Mall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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