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.
JC Parry was a long-serving Aviation and Engineering teacher in several schools in Arlington Public Schools: the Arlington Career Center, the Governor's STEM Academy in Arlington, and H-B Woodlawn. He died last night on New Year's Eve, after a 2.5 year battle with pancreatic cancer. A memorial service is planned for JC on February 10, which would have been his 70th birthday.
The STEM acronym was created in Arlington in 2001. And JC Parry was an important part of just about every STEM initiative in Northern Virginia in that first decade and beyond. He pioneered many statewide courses in Engineering Education, and participated in all of our regional Math in CTE (Career and Technical Education), and STEM and CTE programs promoting interdisciplinary teaching.
Of course, as an Air Force Captain and engineer, JC inspired many young pilots in Arlington, who secured their initial pilot license through him. Many also had their first flying experience with JC, as he regularly volunteered his time on weekends at the Manassas Airport.
JC was a foundational instructor for the first Governor's Career and Technical Academy (in Arlington), the Governor's STEM Academy that became the foundation for Arlington Tech in 2016. He was a leader in dual enrollment initiatives with Northern Virginia Community College, and he was my go-to teacher for piloting initiatives for the new Northern Virginia STEM program, Systemic Solutions, back in 2013. He helped us significantly with the many other regional initiatives, always offering his classroom for Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce meetings, many pilot programs for Arlington Community Learning, and connecting parents and the businesses community to the Arlington Career Center.
We started teaching together at the Career Center together at the turn of the century, and even shared an office for several years.