Northern Virginia Community College opened the doors of a state-of-the-art engineering technology Fabrication Laboratory with a prestigious ribbon cutting event to thank members of the institution’s partners in the business and legislative community for the support of engineering technology programs. The spaces offered through the “Fab Lab” such as a ‘Woodshop’, ‘Maker’s Space’, ‘Computer Control & Computer Design Center’ and ‘3-D Printing Workshop’ — will create the building blocks for careers in engineering technology.
MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — On January 13, 2020, Northern Virginia Community College opened the doors of a state-of-the-art engineering technology Fabrication Laboratory with a prestigious ribbon cutting event to thank members of the institution’s partners in the business and legislative community for the support of engineering technology programs. The “Fab Lab” for short, will serve as a hub to connect industry to the developing technology workforce, and support NOVA’s industry-aligned Engineering Technology program. It will also be leveraged by NOVA’s STEM outreach program, NOVA SySTEMic, to inspire K-12 interest and encourage future generations to pursue careers in engineering technology. The ribbon-cutting was followed by a week-long series of community events.
The creation of such a project was in response to the many expanding technology companies in the Northern Virginia region. Such companies that have spearheaded tech partnerships with NOVA like Micron Technology Inc., one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, will invest $3 billion to expand memory chip production capabilities at its Manassas plant, with plans to create 1,100 new jobs by 2030. The project was a joint collaboration with GoVirginia, Micron, U.S. Army’s Night Vision and Sensors Directorate and BAE Systems.
The “Fab Lab” would let interested innovators have access to a space to lay the educational base for fulfilling these future job opportunities. “The space is about letting everyone know that this is the career path for them. More often than naught, people may not see themselves in this capacity. ‘WE DO STEM’ – it’s about moving the region forward,” said, NOVA’s new President, Dr. Anne Kress. “What we are celebrating is more than a cool learning space. What we really show are industry aligned and industry required training labs. The facility represents our dedication at NOVA for industry pathways that drive our region economies.”
The spaces offered through the “Fab Lab” such as ‘Woodshop’, ‘Maker’s Space’, ‘Computer Control & Computer Design Center’ and ‘3-D Printing Workshop’ – will create the building blocks for careers in engineering technology. It is an open-access and inclusive mult-nodal innovator space with the mission to apply STEM principles and integrating it into easy and applicable concepts for all levels of interested students. From K-12 participants, college-ready students, industry professionals looking for the latest and greatest session to build their repertoire and for teacher development in advanced machinery training – the space will provide it all.
The series of events offered after the commemorative ‘ribbon-cutting’ allowed for demonstrations in the ‘Fab Lab’ such as; STEM field trips and introductions to the lab’s CNC Router (48″ x 48″) was provided for a handful of participants. ‘Lunch & Learn’ opportunities for faculty and staff were held Tuesday and Thursday in the lab. The capabilities of the ‘Fab Lab’ and trends in additive manufacturing and robotics were discussed. On Thursday night the ‘Fab Lab’ hosted a Robotics Night Open House where sixty-six attendees of all ages had the opportunity to use and learn about five different robotic systems. Two training sessions were held on the VEX IQ robots in which participants learned how to program and manipulate the robots. On Friday, the weeklong series of events closed with a ‘College Open House’ with 90 attendees able to learn and use equipment to build molds and use a plastic thermoforming machine, make an LED Monster with sewable circuitry, play with electronic circuits and sensors, try their hand at robotic challenges, laser cut fabric, practice CAD drawing, and observe some wood working demos. Due to weather conditions, the Saturday (January 18th) ‘Community Fab Lab Open House’ is to be rescheduled for March 14, 2020 from 10am to 4pm.