Thinkabit World of Work and Robocrafting Labs

The mission of the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™ at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region, is to serve Washington, D.C. area students, teachers, administrators, parents, and collaborators in technical career exploration and the hands-on electronic and programming foundations of IOT and Smart Cities sensors, actuators, and data collection and analysis. In doing so, we are preparing our future STEM workforce and our increasingly diverse, technology-driven community for jobs that may not yet exist. VT-Thinkabit will work with like-minded teams, organizations and individuals interested in promoting curiosity, innovation, creativity, and students’ self-actualization and self-determination.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Code - Tuesday, 7pm (tonight) in Room 200 (Northern VA Center)

TONIGHT (March 28):

In honor of Women's History Month, VT's Northern Virginia Center will screen the documentary CODE Debugging the Gender Gap, in Room 200 at 7pm.

For more information about this one hour documentary, please go to: https://www.codedoc.co/



CODE documentary exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap. CODE raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities…
codedoc.co

Saturday, March 25, 2017

NPR Goats and Soda blog post

NPR logo   Goats and Soda

Goats and Soda



Environment

Science-Loving Teens From Ghana And D.C. Geek Out Together

March 23, 20172:35 PM ET
Ghanaian and American team members met for the first time at the competition, held in Washington, D.C.   Ryan Eskalis/NPR

It was a meeting of nerds and sharks.

The self-described "biotech nerds" and "robotic nerds" were seven high school students from Washington, D.C. The eight teens who call themselves "sharks" and flew in from Ghana. "The shark is a big fish so it means you're big. Knowledgeable," explains Stephanie Obbo of Ghana, an aspiring medical doctor.

Together, the 15 high schoolers formed a team for the first World Smarts STEM Challenge. That's a science competition run by IREX, a global development nonprofit that strives to promote student enthusiasm for science, tech, engineering and math (aka STEM). Each of the 17 teams had teenagers in the D.C. area partnering with Ghanaians to identify and solve a real-world problem. NPR's Goats and Soda followed "Team McKwiny" — a name that blends D.C.'s McKinley Technology High School and Winneba Senior High School in Ghana.

They had collaborated since September over the internet. The Americans kicked around the idea of minimizing carbon emissions. The Ghanaians wanted to tackle water pollution. They finally agreed to design and build a water purifier.



Both contingents had a personal stake in the project. The McKinley students found high levels of lead in the Anacostia River that flows through Washington, D.C. And the Winneba students in southern Ghana found pesticides, hospital waste, sewage and other pollutants in a nearby lagoon used for

Thursday, March 23, 2017

From the VT NCR Highlights Blog

STUDENTS FROM DC AREA AND GHANA VISIT THINKABIT LAB TO IMPROVE PROTOTYPES FOR MAJOR STEM COMPETITION

Thinkabit LabStudents improved prototypes for the World Smarts Challenge at Virginia Tech’s Thinkabit Lab
Before facing off at the IREX World Smarts STEM Challenge Contest and Showcase in Washington, D.C., last weekend, 48 students from high schools in the metro DC area and Ghana, Africa, headed off to the Thinkabit Lab at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church.
In more than nine hours of interactive sessions at the lab, the students learned about programs offered by colleges and universities and a wide range of technical careers; benefited from hands-on coaching by Thinkabit Lab research faculty on how they could improve their prototypes; and practiced their presentations for judging on the following day at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
"I was impressed with all of the student finalists and their technical solutions to real-world alternative-energy needs and pollution-mitigation challenges," said Jim Egenrieder, research faculty and director of Virginia Tech's National Capital Region Thinkabit Lab. "They have all now discovered that empowering feeling of designing and building things that work and things that change the way people imagine the future. We need more activities like this -- that make STEM fun and authentic, but also inclusive, collaborative, and transformative."
Team “Big Bang Brains of the World,” comprised of students and teachers from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Edinaman Senior High School in Elmina, Ghana, won the competition with

Sunday, March 19, 2017

IREX World Smarts STEM Challenge Finalists Visit


On Friday, March 17, students from Africa (Ghana) and partnering students from D.C. area schools participated in more than nine hours of interactive sessions at the Lab.  They learned about the kinds of programs that colleges and universities offer, explored a wide range of technical careers, and benefited from hands-on coaching by Thinkabit Lab research faculty on how they could improve their prototypes.  They also practiced their presentations together for the first time for the judging event on Saturday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.