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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Virginia Tech CyberX in the State Budget

excerpted from Richmond Times Dispatch:

CyberX

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the proposed House budget is a plan to spend $40 million in the second year to establish the CyberX program in Northern Virginia. The ambitious initiative would be led by Virginia Tech to push higher education research and master’s degree programs for cybersecurity, data analysis and computer science, and unmanned vehicle systems in partnership with those growing high-tech industries.

The CyberX plan would establish a research and educational institute in leased facilities in Tysons Corner in Fairfax County that would serve as the hub of a new program connecting the “spokes” of research colleges and universities across the state — the University of Virginia, Old Dominion, George Mason, James Madison, Norfolk State and several community colleges federally certified for their cybersecurity programs.

The program would offer a five-year plan spanning three years of undergraduate study, a year of internship, and a year of master’s work in sought-after fields.

The plan envisions an additional $50 million in privately raised money to help recruit top researchers who would hold dual appointments for CyberX and their respective higher education institutions, which also would pay a share of the cost. The proposed budget also includes $10 million in unused

Friday, February 16, 2018

Girls Create Solar Tent for the Homeless

From Mashable (last year):


"We wanted to offer something besides money," her classmate, Veronica Gonzalez, chimes in.
That was the starting point for their invention: a solar-powered tent that folds up into a rollaway backpack. The girls and 10 others from their high school had never done any hands-on engineering work before, but with the help of YouTube, Google, and trial-and-error, they got it done.
They hope that one day, their tent will improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their community. 
The teen girls from San Fernando High School worked on their invention over the course of a year. On June 16, they presented it at MIT as part of a young inventors conference. The teens, none of whom had coded, soldered, sewn, or 3D-printed before they joined forces, won a $10,000 grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program to develop the invention. 
They were recruited by DIY Girls, a nonprofit that teaches girls from low-income communities about engineering, math, and science, to go after the

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Aisha is the Urban Alliance Intern of the Week

Urban Alliance recognized our own Aisha Ali this week.

UA Intern of the Week: Aisha Ali

Aisha interns at Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™ at Virginia Tech under the leadership of her mentor, Dr. Jim Egenrieder. Aisha’s mentor stated that she has emerged as a leader at Virginia Tech Lab. She is modest, but uncommonly thoughtful, intuitive, and competent in everything she tries. The Thinkabit Lab setting is admittedly more like graduate school or a tech startup than perhaps a traditional work place, but her mentor stated that she can thrive anywhere.

Her mentor also also stated that “Aisha is the go-to person for special research projects, but also a skilled designer, programmer, and troubleshooter that regularly volunteers to teach others. She has a great sense of humor and is thoroughly enjoyable as a collaborator.” Dr. Egenrieder looks forward to any opportunity to advance Aisha’s education and career interest. He stated, “I knows that she will make me proud to have been a very small part of her many inevitable successes.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Harrisonburg STEM Office (and Thinkabit Labs) wins Title 4 grant


Image result for amy sabarre


Our colleague Amy Sabarre will be sending 20 teachers to CTA for computer coursework, then developing a 1-week summer school curriculum for summer school students around CS, cyber hygiene, internet safety, and social media.

Amy is also working on a vertical map of CS integrations for elementary and middle in HCPS. She is a prominent example of how all of our Thinkabit partnerships take us in new, better, broader directions.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Dogwood 4th grade Engineers

Photos courtesy of Dogwood Elementary School.

Our university teaching lab regularly has visitors from 8 to 88, from kindergartners to doctoral students to retired lifelong learners. These photos are from 4th grade engineers from Dogwood Elementary School, one of our favorite partner schools.

(With Wei Sun, Jackie Kwon, Mark Moseley, Terry Freeman, Elise Barth, and Tara Murphy). - Photos by Jackie.