Wednesday, May 1, 2024

High School Internships and Senior Experience Externships this Summer

The work-based learning staff at Virginia Tech's Thinkabit Labs in the Washington, D.C. Area is welcoming students from nearby schools in Alexandria, Arlington, DC Public Schools, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudoun, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince George's County (MD), and Prince William County.  

We welcome students interested in any career path, but we are particularly oriented to support internships in Computer Science, Engineering (any), Environmental Science, Health and Medical Science, Natural Resources, Physical Computing, Public Policy / Government, and Social Sciences. 

While in-person and hybrid internships are encouraged, virtual internships may be limited due to the burdens of remote internships on staff. All internships should be 280 hours or more to meet the requirements of a high-quality work-based learning experience as defined by VDOE.  We strongly encourage in-person participation Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Senior Experience externships (40 hours) in May and June are available for any high school senior.

Send a message expressing your interest to  

Monday, April 8, 2024

Register today - Invent Virginia / Invent DC regional event - April 13, 12 noon to 2pm

 Last-minute registration is possible, but please try to register online in advance to minimize delays when you arrive.

The form will require only a few minutes.  Those under 13 will require a parent to complete the form.   

If you're unsure about a past registration, it won't hurt to register again.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Neurodivergent vs. Neurotypical Individuals: Understanding the Spectrum of Human Cognition and Behavior

 How do neurodiverse individuals differ from neurotypical individuals?

Nana Awuah, March 28, 2024

In the vast field of human cognition and behavior, diversity goes far past what most readers would anticipate. Neuroscience is the collected multidisciplinary sciences that analyze the nervous system to understand the biological basis for behavior (Bloom, 2013). The neurological variances resulting from the complex functioning and structure of the brain influence how individuals experience and engage with the world. In this blog article, I explore the various aspects of neurodiversity with the goal of distinguishing  between what is considered neurotypical and what is considered neurodivergent.

As the complexities of neurological diversity are revealed, I’ll aim to help you better understand and appreciate the distinctive perspectives that make each of us unique!

Defining Neurodiverse & Neurotypical

Neurodiverse is a term commonly used to describe persons displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior. Gregor Wolbring (2007) provides a frequently cited definition, “Neurodiversity is defined as the whole of human mental or psychological neurological structures or behaviors, seen as not necessarily problematic, but as alternate, acceptable forms of human biology” (see Nelson, 2020). Individuals diagnosed with certain disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc. are often identified as Neurodiverse.

On the other hand, Neurotypical is a term often used to describe persons who think, perceive, and behave in ways that are considered the norm by the general population. 

Many might ask, "Is neurotypical really identifiable? Is it simply the absence of a diagnosis? " Individual variances arise from differences in biological make-up, family history, and brain anatomy. This phrase is frequently used to characterize individuals whose neurological functioning and development are consistent with neurological expectations. It is context-dependent and somewhat broad, however, and there is likely no such thing as a "perfect" brain. 

Neurotypical individuals are often described as someone who thinks and processes information in an expected way for their culture and setting (Villines, 2022). Additionally, they can be identified through social context,  or a

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

On to the State VEX Finals

Our Thinkabit Lab interns Greyson and Quinn are among the Wakefield High School Vex Robotics team that double-qualified for the State competition. 


Friday, February 16, 2024

Congratulations to Dr. Andreea Sistrunk!

On February 15 Dr. Andreea Sistrunk successfully defended her thesis concerning human-computer interaction in revising or refining school division boundaries, with future similar possible broader impacts in refining other boundaries in public decision-making.

Read more here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

HS students create light-powered super chip


Fairfax Co. students create light-powered super chip, impacting data center industry

A group of teenagers in Fairfax County have created a supercomputer chip with the goal of reinventing the computer.

“We used to skip lunch,” said Sathvik Redrouthu. “Make little structures out of popsicle sticks.”

Redrouthu is one of the founders of Procyon, a company he started with his friends aimed at reinventing the computer, allowing them to on laser light rather than electricity. The group has been coming up and brainstorming ideas since their elementary school days.

“Random products like just coming up with new things and figuring out how we can make it work,” described Pranav Vadde.

There was a machine that provided a different way to enter a password. Then there was this theoretical device.

“Something like a laser shoots stuff and then you would teleport to where it went. So we made the laser. We didn’t make the teleportation part,” remembered Jagadeepram Maddipatla.

These days, these high schoolers are still working on the technology of the future. But this time, they have an actual prototype. Their latest invention is a supercomputer chip powered by light.

“The light coming out your light bulb is insanely fast. It's the fastest thing in the world,” explained Redrouthu. “So we were like, what if you just replace all that electricity with just with light? So they're like small lasers like inside the chip.”