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CENI Newsletter — July 2022

July 6, 2022

July 2022 Newsletter

Here at CENI we are enjoying a rejuvenating summer, reflecting on the good work done by the members of our Campus Engagement Network over the past academic year. A hearty congratulations to doctoral student Emily Burns for being recognized for her commitment to disabled college students! Many of our educational outreach leaders are offering wonderful summer camp experiences right now, and CENI is hard at work consulting with Virginia Tech faculty who are submitting National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grants to help them integrate STEM/STEAM educational outreach activities into their broader impacts plans. 

Left: Chelsea Haines Lyles Associate Director of Broader Impacts  Right: Phyllis Leary Newbill Associate Director of Educational Networks

Congratulations, Emily!

We would like to congratulate one of our CENI graduate student employees, Emily Burns, on being selected for The Sally Bohland Award for Innovative Service in Access and Inclusion. This award recognizes the contributions of an individual who find ways to improve the accessibility of service to students with disabilities and influence Virginia Tech's campus structure so that students can demonstrate their true potential. Emily is a third-year doctoral student in Higher Education with an interest in the social experiences of disabled college students and hopes to serve as a professor of practice in Disability Studies. This amazing accomplishment is just one step on your journey!

Getting to Know the Campus Engagement Network  

This month’s featured member is Cathy M. Sutphin, Ph.D, an Associate Director in Youth, Families, and Health at Virginia Cooperative Extension. 

With 36 years of experience, Cathy serves in a senior leadership role within Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE). In this role, Cathy provides innovative leadership for programming in the areas of youth, families, and health across Virginia. Prior to accepting her current position, Cathy served ten years as Associate Director, 4-H Youth Development. The Virginia 4-H program enrolls over 200,000 youth and 14,000 volunteers annually, under the direction of faculty in 108 offices. Virginia 4-H provides youth with rich learning experiences and encourages them to become future leaders.Cathy began her career as an Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, serving fifteen years in Wythe and Pulaski Counties. Upon completing her doctorate, she became Volunteer Development Specialist and Assistant Professor and was then promoted to Associate Professor. Since that time, she has assumed progressive leadership roles within Virginia Cooperative Extension, including two years as Human Resources Director for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

As a first generation college graduate and 4-H alum, Cathy knows the importance of positive youth development. Cathy holds a B.S. in Animal Science, a M.S. in Vocational/Technical Education, and a Ph.D. in Career and Technical Education, all from Virginia Tech. Cathy is committed to building strong partnerships and collaborations which benefit youth development.

Cathy and her husband Tim operate a large beef cattle farm in Pulaski County. They have four adult children who all graduated from Virginia Tech. Go Hokies! Cathy recently took on a new title,  “Grandma Sutphin”.

CENI and CENI Partners in the News

Radford High School students visit Virginia Tech to discover careers in higher education - Read more here

Board of Visitors approves 2022 promotions, tenures, and continued appointments during its latest meeting. Please take the time to view the list through this link and congratulate fellow faculty members.

Broader Impacts

Please keep CENI in mind for your grant writing and broader impacts evaluation needs. Learn more about our broader impacts and evaluation consultation services here.

National Science Foundation CAREER grant applications are due July 27, 2022. Researchers are seeking opportunities to share their research with public audiences. To include your summer camps and other preK-12 educational programming in CENI's menu of broader impacts, email Dr. Chelsea Haines Lyles (

CENI Educator Liaison Corner

Floyd County Public Schools
Looking for a way to communicate K-12 ongoings thru the summer? 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

Radford City Public Schools
This past month sophomores from Radford High School took a trip to Virginia Tech’s campus to explore career opportunities in higher education. Their visit included all corners of campus, hearing from the athletics; the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities; the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine; Virginia Tech Dining Services; and enterprise administrative and business services. It was the first time they have done anything like this. The collaboration of Virginia Tech and Radford High School through the program “Tech Tracks” was created by the efforts of Jamie Little, Virginia Tech-K12 liaison for the Radford City Schools, and the Division of Human Resources.

Virginia Tech Roanoke Center
STEAM Day 2022 is coming to Roanoke on Friday, October 28 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
The Science Museum of Western Virginia offers fully hands-on camps in a variety of STEM subjects. Some of our programs even include visits to local higher education institutions to offer campers the opportunity to set foot on a university or college campus and in doing so increases their chance of pursuing higher education.

Science-based Summer Camps are essential in maintaining STEM skills that are developed throughout the school term and often deplete over summer break. Attending fun and engaging Summer Camps results in marked improvements across all STEM subjects when they return to school! Additionally, Summer Campers gain key skills, such as teamwork and confidence, that are retained for their future careers.

Highlights from Campus Engagement Networks 

Southwest Center Provides a Gateway for Opportunity 
The Virginia Tech Southwest Center, which connects Virginia Tech’s resources to communities in the commonwealth, is an opportunity for Southwest Virginia students to gain exposure to the possibilities of STEM careers. High school girls from rural coalfields of Buchanan County were brought to Virginia Tech for a two-day tour of the campus, away from their isolated hometowns. For most students, this was their first time on a college campus, and a chance to see what was really out there. They participated in activities, such as making lava lamps, magnetic putty, and flower bath bombs in a Fralin Life Sciences Institute lab, enjoying lunch at D2, and learning more about college awareness. Inspired by new experiences and success stories, these girls left envisioning a future with endless possibilities.

The Reynolds Homestead 
The Reynolds Homestead is marking more than 50 years since the family donated the property to Virginia Tech this month. This historic piece of land has been transformed over the past five decades into a center of community gathering,  culture, and education. To celebrate its anniversary, the homestead hosted a series of events on the weekend of June 17-19, 2022. The Reynolds Homestead has been the heart of Patrick County for more than 170 years as the local community, and descendants of both the Reynolds family and the enslaved community return to connect the past and present. Read more about the history of the land and its people here.

The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation Gifts Virginia 4-H
The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation saw the immense value of Virginia 4-H’s expertise in empowering youth and forged a partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia 4-H to initiate passion for life sciences in youths. The Foundation is focused on creating opportunities in health-based careers, especially during the shortages in health care that we are facing today. Their gift will allow for the creation of a mobile learning experience, which allows youth in rural communities the access and the opportunity to engage in high-technology-based STEM learning opportunities around life and health sciences without travel. Additionally, this partnership will further expand education access, learning experiences with experts in the field, and the readiness of youth. 

Wonder Universe Summer STEM Activities
Wonder Universe, A Children's Museum continues to host STEM Saturday activities each Saturday throughout the Summer months and into the Fall from 10:30-12 pm. 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

Upcoming Deadlines and Events

6/27-7/1: Thinkabit Lab Summer Camp
7/4: University Holiday (Independence Day)
7/8: Hokie BugCamp 10-12pm
7/9: Hokie BugCamp 10-12pm & 1-3 pm 
7/27: NSF CAREER grants due
8/9-8/12: Maker Camp 
10/28: Roanoke STEAM Day 2022
11/12: Virginia Tech Science Festival