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CENI Newsletter — December 2021

December 2021 Newsletter

December 2021 Newsletter

Wrapping up a busy and joyful semester of being back in person, I’m happy to see many achievements being shared this month across the university. For CENI, highlights include our very own Kim Keith (VT-K12 Liaison with Floyd County) awarded Computer Science Educator of the Year in Virginia, Dr. Pamela Gilchrist joining the Innovation Campus as Director of K-12 Education, and Dr. Chelsea Lyles marking her first semester as Associate Director with four awarded grants and by developing a new course tentatively titled Exploring Educational Inequities Through Service Learning. Under the guidance of Dr. Phyllis Newbill the Virginia Tech Science Festival connected science learners both on November 6 and throughout the semester in new modalities. Next, we’re expanding this responsive programming to Hokie for a Day field trips that educators can sign up for and match to their own educational goals (contact Phyllis Newbill at pnewbill@vt.edu for more information). Finally, we’re excited about a new collaboration with Dr. Jake Grohs and Engineering Education graduate student Daniel Mathieson on the Vibrant Virginia project, “Supporting School-Industry Partnerships and Career Exploration in the New River Valley.”

Cheers,


Lisa McNair 
Director, CENI
Professor, Engineering Education

Kim Keith, Computer Science Educator of the Year

Virginia’s annual Computer Science Education Week is happening this week, December 6 - 10. Part of the week’s activities include recognizing outstanding computer science educators from across the state. This year, Kim Keith, Virginia Tech - Floyd County Public Schools Liaison was selected as the Computer Science Educator of the Year in the category of Instructional Technology Resource Teacher/Coach/Support Personnel. Kim also won the overall award for Computer Science Educator of the Year! Congratulations Kim!

Getting to Know the Campus Engagement Network

Each month, the newsletter will feature members of the Campus Engagement Network (formerly named the CENI Advisory Board). The Campus Engagement Network is made up of preK-12 educational outreach leaders who meet monthly to share successes, collaborate on initiatives, and address issues. 

This month’s featured member is Dr. Karen Eley Sanders, Associate Vice Provost for College Access.

Among other outreach initiatives, Karen is leading efforts to create a Memorandum of Agreement between Innovation Campus and Alexandria City Public Schools to collaborate on and promote STEM education and workforce development. She and the College Access Collaborative are also partnering with Radford High School to pilot the Passport to Career: Oh the Places You’ll Go! college and career readiness program. 



Karen has worked in higher education as a counselor, administrator, and faculty member for nearly three decades. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses; coordinated recruitment; new student orientation and academic enrichment programs; served as an academic advisor; developed and directed undergraduate advising and academic support units; collaborated with colleagues to develop scholarship programs; and provided campus-wide leadership in the areas of student success, retention and diversity. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in Psychology from Virginia State University and a doctorate in Adult and Developmental Education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She also earned a certified developmental education specialist degree through the Kellogg Institute at Appalachian State University.



A little known fact about Karen is that she was active in 4-H as a youth in Hampton, VA, and remains proud of the red ribbon she was awarded in a 1970s competition related to milk!

Virginia Tech Science Festival


This year’s Virginia Tech Science Festival was particularly exciting because we were able to embark on alternative formats in our mission to promote college-going awareness and science as a way of thinking. Throughout the course of the entire semester, we offered a combination of field trips, small expos, and online meetups. With the help of Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and student exhibitors and volunteers, our broader impacts include interacting with over 1,350 young learners from more than 25 schools, covering 13 counties in the state of Virginia. In addition, the Science Festival offered 86 unique exhibits showcased by 188 faculty and student scientists from a range of 15 colleges/research institutes and 30 departments at the University.

On Saturday, November 6, six groups presented in the Moss Arts Center Cube with their presentations live-streamed via YouTube in 360°: 

  • Climate Change: Your Voice is Important (Robot Musical Theater) - Two boys pictured left listening to robot "Pepper" during performance.
  • Are Freshwater Fish in Danger from a Changing Climate?
  • NanoEarth: What is Nano and What Does It Have to Do with the Earth and the Environment?
  • The Scoop on Honeybee Poop!
  • Inside Out: How We Develop, Control, and Express Our Emotions Every Day
  • Rock around the Clock
Children on a Virginia Tech Science Festival school field trip at the Moss Arts Center
Children on a Virginia Tech Science Festival school field trip at the Moss Arts Center
Children on a Virginia Tech Science Festival school field trip at the Moss Arts Center
Children on a Virginia Tech Science Festival school field trip at the Moss Arts Center

Thank You to Our Virginia Tech Science Festival Partners



We are thankful to all of our partners who have made the Virginia Tech Science Festival possible this year. It is truly an all-campus collaboration!

  • Center for Educational Networks and Impacts
  • Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
  • Moss Arts Center
  • Admissions
  • College of Science
  • College of Engineering
  • Center for Communicating Science
  • Fralin Life Sciences Institute
  • Continuing and Professional Education
  • Science Museum of Western Virginia
  • Floyd County Public Schools
  • Radford City Public Schools
  • Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Virginia Tech Roanoke Center
  • Reynolds Homestead
  • College Access Collaborative

For more information, visit the Virginia Tech Science Festival website or contact Phyllis Newbill at pnewbill@vt.edu

Meet the CENI Student Employees and Interns

Hi, my name is Sarah Howell (she/her) and I am currently a senior majoring in HNFE.  I plan on attending physical therapy school after graduation with the hopes of becoming a pediatric physical therapist. I am serving as the Undergraduate Learning Assistant for ENGE 2984: Critical Service Learning. I work closely with Dr. Chelsea Lyles to prepare classroom activities and discussions and am available to students as a resource for questions about the class or their respective service learning projects. I enjoy working at CENI for many reasons, but I particularly appreciate the genuine desire of everyone to be of service to others. Whether it be working on the Virginia Tech Science Festival or other outreach opportunities, everyone at CENI is an embodiment of VT’s motto: Ut Prosim (that I may serve).

 

Hi, my name is Haseb Alim, and I am currently majoring in Marketing Management. I work as the Outreach and Marketing Assistant for CENI. I believe I contribute to CENI by sharing the stories of the work we do here with the rest of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities by growing our online presence. I also work to plan, organize, and execute outreach events and programs throughout the year while developing creative ways to carry out the center's mission. I enjoy working at CENI because of the amazing people on the team. They are all so kind and flexible with students and I appreciate them giving us unique opportunities to build valuable industry-leading skills. After graduation, I hope to work in the technology industry at Google, Microsoft, or Cisco in either marketing or sales.

Hi, my name is Haseb Alim, and I am currently majoring in Marketing Management. I work as the Outreach and Marketing Assistant for CENI. I believe I contribute to CENI by sharing the stories of the work we do here with the rest of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities by growing our online presence. I also work to plan, organize, and execute outreach events and programs throughout the year while developing creative ways to carry out the center's mission. I enjoy working at CENI because of the amazing people on the team. They are all so kind and flexible with students and I appreciate them giving us unique opportunities to build valuable industry-leading skills. After graduation, I hope to work in the technology industry at Google, Microsoft, or Cisco in either marketing or sales.

Hi, my name is Arul Kumar, and I am a Data Processing Assistant with CENI. I am a junior majoring in Finance. I contribute to CENI by helping with behind the scene qualitative and quantitative analytics with the Science Festival, University Outreach, and other CENI operations. What I like about working at CENI is the flexible and tight-knit environment along with their dedication to students as well as professional development opportunities. After graduation, I hope to work in the field of Sales and Trading on Wall Street. I’ll be working at Citi for Sales and Trading and hope to secure a full-time offer upon graduation.

Hi, my name is Phoebe McLaughlin, I am a junior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and an Outreach Assistant at CENI. I think I contribute an extra hand to CENI. I try to help wherever I can and make my coworkers' days a little easier when things get crazy. What I enjoy most about working at CENI is the people. Everyone I have met has been super nice and helpful. After graduation, I hope to work in the field of graphic design, videography, or communications.

 

Hi, my name is Cody Klein, and I’m a senior majoring in Economics. I work for CENI as the Evaluation Assistant. I contribute to the evaluation aspect of CENI in that I work with the data gathered during events to create reports and infographics that tell a story. I like working at CENI because of how much I’ve learned and continue to learn while working there. I’ve learned how to work with data to come to interesting conclusions, how to use that data to write evaluation reports, and how to create infographics displaying the data using different software such as Adobe Illustrator, none of which I had any experience with previously. I don’t really know what I’m going to do after graduation. I don’t plan on going to grad school unless a future employer offers to pay tuition, so I guess I’m just hoping I can find a good job to start my career.

Congratulations Sarah, Intern of the Month!



As part of their CENI experience, Arul, Cody, and Sarah are also participating in the internEXP pilot with Career and Professional Development. As part of this program, they analyze their own strengths and weaknesses regarding workplace readiness and reflect on their experiences throughout the semester. They also complete a semester-long exploration, working closely with their supervisor, to further develop a self-selected professional competency. Congratulations to Sarah for being selected as the Campus internEXP October Intern of the Month!

CENI and CENI Partners in the News

  • Virginia Tech Science Festival ignites scientific interest in elementary students - view
  • Faculty Fellows program fosters connections between faculty, students, and community - read
  • Roanoke Times Arts & Extras: Helmets crash and snakes fly at science museum - read
  • Discovering the hidden world of freshwater mussels with immersive technology - read

CENI Educator Liaison Corner


Floyd County Public Schools

Whether a live event at Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, an outreach through VT Science Festival, or an offering for potential Hokies, FCPS students and faculty are grateful for the opportunities to partner with researchers, faculty, and student groups at Virginia Tech. Follow us on social media #FloydSchoolsVA.

Montgomery County Public Schools

Hiring for a Virginia Tech - Montgomery County Public Schools Liaison is underway!

Radford City Public Schools

“Meet and Mingle” Career and Networking Event

Dr. Karen Eley Sanders and Mary Grace Campos, leaders of Virginia Tech’s College Access Collaborative, are joining forces with Joy Capers from Virginia Tech’s Career and Professional Development to sponsor a career/networking fair for Radford High School ninth graders later this month in association with the PASSPORT TO CAREER: OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! program. Guests from higher education, various career fields, and businesses that are hiring young workers will be represented. Virginia Tech representation includes James Pennix, Senior Associate Director for Recruitment, who will represent Virginia Tech Admissions and meet with students interested in attending Virginia Tech. Also representing Virginia Tech will be Katie Mooney, Radford High School alumna and Development Coordinator for Virginia Tech Dining Services, along with Justin Thompson and Celia Davies-Tucker, who will meet with students interested in careers within the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources career cluster.



Science Museum of Western Virginia


Welcome Mary Roberts Baako, the new interim Executive Director for the Science Museum of Western Virginia. We wish Rachel Hopkins all the best in her new role as CEO Child Health Investment Partnership (CHIP) of Roanoke Valley! 



Roanoke Center at Virginia Tech

Monday, December 13, the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center will be gearing up for some fun conversations all about Digital Literacy at Woodrow Wilson Middle School’s Literacy Night.

Highlights from the Campus Engagement Network


New Museum Exhibit
Wonder Universe unveiled a new exhibit, Energy in Motion, created as a broader impact activity through Dr. Amanda Morris’ NSF CAREER award on metal organic frameworks. Interacting with the exhibit, visitors “Learn the basics of how plants make food with this interactive game of science tic-tac-toe. Compete with your friend to collect all the pieces of the process, then light up the sun overhead and let everyone know you won!” 



Virginia Tech Women's Basketball Autism Awareness Game
The Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball Team is partnering with the SAFE (Supporting Autism Friendly Environments) program and Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research to create a SAFE event. The Virginia Tech Women's Basketball Autism Awareness Game will be held on Sunday, December 12, at 2 pm vs. Radford University.

This SAFE event will include:

  • Special seating for participants
  • Goodie bags including stress poppers and ear plugs, while supplies last
  • A SAFE area that participants can visit, if needed
  • Volume levels will be lowered for this event and more

If you are interested in attending this game and sitting in this special Autism Awareness Game section please use this link to fill out your information and receive details on purchasing tickets in this section.

If you have any questions about this event, feel free to call Tori Thurston in VT Athletics at 540-231-6747, or contact SAFE Coordinator Dr. Amy Azano by email (azano@vt.edu).

Now Hiring: Upward Bound Project Advisors
Positions open in Roanoke, Salem, and Southwest Virginia. View the position description and apply. 
 

Save the Date: Teacher's Night Out


The Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center and the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts are hosting a Teacher's Night Out for local middle school teachers!



Teachers of grades 6-8 are invited to join us Thursday, January 20 for a fun evening in the Thinkabit Lab. You will get a chance to experience a “day” in the lab, learning about career exploration, programming, and building a prototype for an invention to help change the world! The event is free and there is an opportunity for teachers to earn continuing education units (CEUs). Following the event, dinner will be provided at a local restaurant in Roanoke. An invitation will be shared through CENI's Educator Network shortly. 



Date: Thursday, 1/20/2022 (Inclement weather date 1/27/2022)
Time: 4:30 - 6:30 pm in the lab; 7:00 – 8:00 Educator Social
Location: Virginia Tech Roanoke Center; 108 N. Jefferson St. Suite 701; Roanoke, VA 24015

Kids' Tech University


Registration for the 2022 Spring KTU program is open. 



Kids’ Tech University, founded by Fralin Life Sciences Institute and Virginia 4-H, is a first-come, first-served spring kids program that is open to children ages 9 through 12 as of September 30, 2021. This program is open to all children meeting the age requirement, regardless of place of residence or academic achievement, and can accommodate up to 350 kids representing a geographically diverse area. Program dates are Jan. 29, Feb. 26, March 19 and April 2nd, 2022. Sessions will be held in the morning (9 am EST) and will conclude by noon EST.  



Due to the current worldwide pandemic (COVID-19) we will be hosting this as a virtual program utilizing zoom and mailing packets of materials (which will require minimal, if anything, extra materials from the household) for hands-on activities after the interactive session. Parents are welcome to watch the interactive session with their child and we ask that they assist their child with doing the hands-on activity. Parents may be needed to assist with poking holes and handling sharp utensils for an activity. Undergraduates will be leading a group of kids/parents through the activity--all done virtually!  



In order to keep up with the costs of providing a quality program, there will be a nonrefundable and non-transferable registration fee of $65.00 per child, payable upon registration. Parents have an option to apply for a scholarship for your child at the time you register online. Registration closes when capacity is met or on 1/15/2022. More information about this program can be found here: https://ktu.fralinlifesci.vt.edu/


New Spring 2022 Courses


ENGE 2984G: SS: Service Learning and Beyond



Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-4:45 pm, GBJ 100
Instructor: Chelsea Lyles (clyles@vt.edu) 



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!



ENGE 6714: Creativity+ in EngrEd: Creativity, Empathy, and Mindfulness in Engineering Education



Monday 9:30 am
Instructor: Diana Bairaktarova (dibairak@vt.edu) 



In the field of psychology, mindful mindset is connected to creativity. Historically, engineering education focuses on the training of analytical skills at the expense of fostering divergent thinking. In this course, we will explore together the relationship between mindfulness, empathy, and creativity and how these human qualities and abilities can be developed and enhanced in the engineering classroom. Course readings will include a multidisciplinary perspective on creativity, empathy, and mindfulness and how mindfulness may promote foundational skills for engineering graduates such as creativity, learning, and motivation.


This course is appropriate for all graduate students across campus who are interested in the topic, want to learn how to foster these skills in their research and teaching practices, and simply for those who want to enhance mindfulness, empathy, and creativity in themselves.

CENI is now on Instagram! Follow us @ceni_vt 

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

 
 
Please submit items to Chelsea (clyles@vt.edu) for CENI newsletters.