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CENI Newsletter — January 2022

January 2022 Newsletter

Welcome back, friends.

We all hope your break included rest and peace. We are looking forward to a busy 2022! CENI Director Lisa McNair is on sabbatical, and we wish her inspiration and productive writing. 

Phyllis

Phyllis Newbill
Associate Director of Educational Networks

Phyllis Newbill

Hokie for a Day Field Trips Coming Soon!

Hokie for a Day, previously known as Hokies Like Us and Kindergarten to College (K2C), field trips are coming soon! Fifth graders from area schools will come to campus for a college orientation, a series of hands-on activities, lunch at D2, and a trip through the tunnel at Lane Stadium. Hokie for a Day field trips will be on Wednesdays from February 9 to April 27. CENI is partnering with the College Access Collaborative and Virginia Career View for the 2022 edition of this program. 

Exhibitor Application Now Open

Interested in providing hands-on, tabletop experience for a Hokie for a Day expo? Apply by January 31.

When?

Choose a Wednesday between February 2 and April 13. (Alternate date 4/27). Students arrive at 10:45 am and leave at 11:45 am. Exhibitors should plan to be present from 10 am to 12 noon.

Who?

60 or fewer fifth graders from a local Title 1 school 

Where?

Moss Arts Center, Balcony Lobby - third floor, facing Alumni Mall

What?

Hokie for a Day Expo. You are invited to host one of five or six tables at the expo. Small groups of fifth graders will rotate through the tables in 6-minute timeslots, and then have the remaining time for free choice and follow up questions. When the experience ends, your commitment is complete.

How? 

For more information and to submit the exhibit form by January 31, visit https://airtable.com/shrrvmejRagiX2ISg.

Each person participating will need to complete the exhibitor form at https://airtable.com/shrdWlsftBqbcYv4J

The CENI team will take care of the logistics - technology, tables, chairs, buses, food, youth protection, chaperone communications, and image permissions - so you can focus on the exciting Virginia Tech work you will share!

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. Carolyn J. Kroehler, the associate director of the Center for Communicating Science (CCS).

Carrie is a biologist, writer, editor, and Virginia Tech faculty member. She teaches GRAD 5144, the graduate-level communicating science class developed by CCS director Patty Raun in 2012 for the Virginia Tech Graduate School, and has taken the students in that course to share their research with 6th and 7th graders at Eastern Elementary/Middle School in Giles County twice a year since 2016. Pre-pandemic, GRAD 5144 students also often gave research talks at the Warm Hearth Retirement Community. She advises graduate students engaged in other community outreach projects, including Girls Launch!, a kindergarten science outreach program, and ComSciCon-VA Tech, an annual graduate student conference. She is the faculty advisor of the student Communicating Science club, which hosted Science on Canvas earlier this year and is in the last stages of planning Flip the Fair, an outreach event set for February 5 that features graduate student "science fair posters" judged by 3rd-5th graders. She also oversees the center's website Research Stories and StoryMaps projects and is on the organizing committee of  Science on Tap-New River Valley, a monthly community engagement program.

In her career, most of her work has focused on "translating" research for non-scientists. She came to believe in the power of play, experiential learning, and hands-off teaching while doing her student teaching, working with school groups, and raising her children, and she has put that training and understanding to use in helping researchers learn to communicate more effectively with people outside their specialties. With Raun and other CCS faculty, she facilitates workshops and intensives that help researchers build skills in communication and collaboration. She is currently collaborating with an anthropologist in an ethnographic study of the Communicating Science course and with a statistician in a study of researcher efficacy and self-confidence as affected by participation in outreach. She is motivated in her work by the hope that we can all learn to listen and learn from one another and transform our global society into one that sustains all of us and our beautiful, threatened, life-supporting earth. And speaking of hope, she's excited about CCS plans for Communicating Science Week, March 16-23, which will feature keynote speaker Dr. Elin Kelsey, author of Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis, along with workshops, exhibitions, and the Nutshell Games, a research presentation competition. To learn about all these events, sign up for the CCS newsletter.

A little known fact about Carrie is that the long days at home during the pandemic allowed her to fall in love with a new version of chocolate ice cream: one frozen banana, two tablespoons (or more) of cocoa powder, a slosh of milk (maybe half a cup?), and a quick blend. Try it!   

Caption: Carrie (second from right) was delighted to have her whole family together at Christmas after two years of pandemic separation. Pictured left to right, Edmund Hughes, Camilla Hughes, Carrie Kroehler, and Michael Hughes.
Caption: Carrie (second from right) was delighted to have her whole family together at Christmas after two years of pandemic separation. Pictured left to right, Edmund Hughes, Camilla Hughes, Carrie Kroehler, and Michael Hughes.

CENI and CENI Partners in the News

  • Innovation Campus welcomes new director of K-12 programs - read
  • Sanket Deshmukh receives NSF CAREER award to study and design hybrid materials with aid of AI - read
  • Virginia Tech wins top national award for excellence in entrepreneurship education - read
  • InternEXP at Virginia Tech: A new program at Virginia Tech offers internship opportunities to students and employees by Phoebe McLaughlin, CENI undergraduate intern, for a class project - read

CENI Educator Liaison Corner

Floyd County Public Schools

Kim Keith published a new lesson "How to Use Bee-Bot" on #GoOpenVA. 

Montgomery County Public Schools 

Hiring for a Virginia Tech - Montgomery County Public Schools Liaison is underway. We are planning Hokie for a Day field trips now.

Montgomery Public Schools

Radford City Public Schools

“Meet and Mingle” Career and Networking Event
The College Access Collaborative's (CAC) Passport to Career "Mingle Like You Mean It" Event provided an opportunity for Radford High School freshmen to practice their networking skills. 

RHS ninth graders mingle with potential employers, representatives from higher education, and local business professionals.
RHS ninth graders mingle with potential employers, representatives from higher education, and local business professionals.
Virginia Tech Dining Services representatives Katie Mooney, Justin Thompson, and Celia Davies-Tucker talk with RHS students about careers in food service.
Virginia Tech Dining Services representatives Katie Mooney, Justin Thompson, and Celia Davies-Tucker talk with RHS students about careers in food service.
Pictured left to right: CAC's Mary Grace Campos, RHS Principal Tara Grant, Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development’s Joy Capers, and CAC’s Karen Eley Sanders enjoy hosting the event.
Pictured left to right: CAC's Mary Grace Campos, RHS Principal Tara Grant, Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development’s Joy Capers, and CAC’s Karen Eley Sanders enjoy hosting the event.
James Pennix, Virginia Tech's Senior Associate Director for Recruitment, talks with students about preparing for college.
James Pennix, Virginia Tech's Senior Associate Director for Recruitment, talks with students about preparing for college.

Science Museum of Western Virginia

Two new Virginia Tech exhibits on starfish and air pollution are under construction at the Science Museum of Western Virginia, thanks to the broader impacts of NSF grants from Gabe Isaacman-VanWertz (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Ling Li (Mechanical Engineering). 

Roanoke Center at Virginia Tech

The Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center and the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts are planning to host a Teacher's Night Out for local middle school teachers. Rescheduled from January, please stay tuned for a new date!

Highlights from the Campus Engagement Network


Spring 2022 ICAT Playdates
ICAT Playdates are being offered in-person and virtually this spring. The schedule includes CENI on Feb. 25, where information about broader impacts and examples of successful faculty collaborations will be shared.

Virginia Tech at Science of Flight Festival
As a follow up to the Virginia Tech Science Festival, Virginia Tech was represented at the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Science of Flight festival on Saturday, January 22, 2022. Many thanks to Rocketry at Virginia Tech and the NASA Student Launch Initiative at Virginia Tech for representing us there. CENI’s museum network made this connection.

Virginia Tech Women's Basketball Autism Awareness Game
The SAFE (Supporting Autism Friendly Environments) Program recently partnered with the Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball Team to host an autism acceptance / SAFE event. Learn more about the program here.  

Undergraduate Research Opportunity
Each year, undergraduate researchers from each ACC university gather at a host institution to present their research and creative scholarship at the annual ACC Meeting of the Minds (ACC MoM). All expenses are covered by the ACC Academic Consortium. This year, the University of Virginia will host the 2022 ACC MoM, from April 1-3. Being selected to present at this conference is a real achievement and honor. Past attendees have truly enjoyed it because of its relatively small size and the opportunity to engage, network, and have fun with peers from other ACC schools.
 
Virginia Tech's Office of Undergraduate Research is currently accepting applications and will select up to five students to represent the university and present their research or creative scholarship at this conference. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Learn more about the conference and apply here. The application deadline is January 31, 2022.

The workshop will be on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg June 27-29. Teachers can sign up any time and can apply for travel money as well. If anyone has questions after looking over the website, please don’t hesitate to contact me: cvictoria@vt.edu 

Students selected to represent Virginia Tech will have access to optional presentation preparation support and coaching provided by the Office of Undergraduate Research in collaboration with University Libraries. Please direct any questions to Keri Swaby, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, at kswaby@vt.edu.

Science Teacher Professional Development Workshops
The College of Science at Virginia Tech is planning to hold a FREE three-day professional development workshop for 8th-12th grade science teachers on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA June 27-29. Teachers can sign up any time and can apply for travel money. Contact Vicki Corbin (cvictoria@vt.edu) with any questions. Learn more about the workshop and register here

College of Science Summer Camps
The College of Science at Virginia Tech is also planning to hold four, in-person science camps for middle and high school students this summer. 

A major goal of the camps is to give students the chance to learn about types of sciences and career opportunities that they may not have considered before (as well as more experience with the usual ones, e.g., biology/doctor). We also want to give them a glimpse of college life. Camps will be interactive, hands-on, and fun. Campers will have opportunities to talk with advisors and faculty about college in general (how and why to go) and career options. The camps are:

  • Explore Science for rising 7th-9th graders, July 10-12. It will explore most of the majors in the college, from economics to physics to biology.
  • Explore Data Science for rising 11th-12th graders, July 17-19. It will explore the ways that data are being used to revolutionize all fields, from medicine to logistics to physics. No programming experience is required, but kids will need to have taken Algebra 1 and one other high school math class.
  • Explore Physical Science for rising 11th- 12th graders, July 21- 21. It will explore physics, chemistry, geosciences, computing, and nanoscience.
  • Explore Life Sciences for rising 11th-12th graders, July 24-26. It will explore all things related to life sciences, from nanomedicine to neuroscience to ancient life forms to disease tracking. 

Learn more about the camps and register here.

Some scholarships are available for those who can’t afford the full cost of attending. Students (or their parents) should apply for a scholarship before registering for camp. Scholarship recipients can then use a coupon code to “pay” the registration fee.

Contact Vicki Corbin (cvictoria@vt.edu) with any questions. 

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

  • Feb. 4: Moss Arts Center School Day Performance: Cirque Mechanics Birdhouse Factory
  • Feb. 18: ICAT Playdate - Hip Hop Studies at Virginia Tech
  • Feb. 23: Moss Arts Center School Day Performance: Ballet Hispánico
  • Feb. 25: CENI ICAT Playdate - Broader Impacts: Connecting University Researchers to the Public Through Educational Outreach
  • Mar. 16-23: Communicating Science Week
  • Mar. 18: Moss Arts Center School Day Performance: Memphis Jookin': The Show Featuring Lil Buck
  • Mar. 18-19 Nutshell Games
  • Mar. 23 Science on Tap