Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Projects with Real Products for Real Needs

Head bands for face shields
We have an informal policy of never saying no to a student or teacher idea, unless of course safety is involved.  But sometimes we establish priorities, procedures, and policies that help all of our team members, collaborators and daily visits pursue goals that are consistent with our mission to promote awareness and access to technical career information for our future workforce in an increasingly global, 5G/IoT, data-driven workforce.

Last year we invested in two mid-priced 3D printers ($700-$800) and shared an informal policy of designing and printing things that have real utility.  We reflect on that broadly and only rarely have to steer someone from creating something cute toward something that is instead interesting and functional.
Packaged for NoVA Labs

Our network of career and technical education (CTE) and STEM teachers and other education experts nearly always seem to have similar orientations, and we realize we are teaching the students who will soon be able to enroll in their courses in middle school and high school as they choose among many other tempting elective course options (e.g., Art, Photography, Chorus, Band, Orchestra).  Like those teachers, we also embrace the idea that lab projects can and should result in real products, even better if those products met a real need in the community.

Accordingly, we are active in those local, state and national agencies and organizations that represent those educators and stay in touch regularly.  Many like Rob Dudek, Topher Paterno, Cassidy Nolan, Danielle Meyer, Matt Cupples, and Kris Martini provided ideas and support and were on the

Monday, April 27, 2020

Internship cancelled?

We are very proud of our Thinkabit Lab internship programs and we are working hard to provide remote work experiences that are similar to what we'd otherwise do on site.

We liked this by Sonia Begum on LinkedIn.com today from www.SoniaBegum.com:

Students if you had your internship cancelled this is what you should be doing:

1. Look into volunteer remote opportunities. There's plenty on LinkedIn under the volunteer column. Volunteering can be an excellent way to learn and use it as experience on your resume.

2. Start a side business. Are you good at social media, data analysis or maybe designing a website? Start offering it as a low cost service. My first LinkedIn consults were for $4.95 for a 15min call with me.

3. Work on a summer project. There are a billion projects you can find on the internet. Find one and do it!

4. DO SOMETHING. Anything is better than nothing. You can't change what happened but you can make the best of it.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Thinkabit's first Graduate Assistant now in the spotlight

from www.dac.cs.vt.edu

DAC Student Spotlight: Andreea Sistrunk


When Andreea Sistrunk started taking classes at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2014 she had left her job as a full time teacher in Northern Virginia to devote more time to her two young daughters, ages three and seven.

Andreea Sistrunk, DAC
Ph.D. student in Computer Science
“It was becoming more difficult for me to hold a full time job and be a good mother so I chose to take a break from work,” Sistrunk said. “I used a sort of ‘mom’s night out’ to enroll in a graduate course at Virginia Tech because I really missed learning new things.”

Sistrunk was drawn to computer science. She held a bachelor of science degree in engineering with a minor in childhood education from University Polytechnica in Bucharest, Romania, and was a licensed teacher for K-12 and Advanced Placement classes in mathematics, computer science, and technology.

From that course, she eventually applied to the Computer Science program and earned a master’s degree with a concentration in data analytics in Fall 2019. Currently, Sistrunk is in the Ph.D. program and a student at the Discovery Analytics Center, where her advisor is Naren Ramakrishnan.

Sistrunk has gone back to work full time as a research scientist in a laboratory outside of the