Educator and Community/Industry Leader Schedule


Southern Virginia STEM-H Education & Industry Achievement Awards- March 7th

This year's SOVA STEM-H Education & Industry Achievement Awards will be presented along with the Southern Piedmont Technology Council's Innovation Stars Awards. Leland Melvin, astronaut, athlete, and author of Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, & Second Chances, will be the Awards Banquet's keynote speaker.

5:00-6:00pm- Reception 

6:00-8:00pm- Awards Dinner (Keynote & Awards Presentation)

*Registration for the Awards Banquet is an optional add-on to the Educator and Community/Industry Leader Day- March 8th


Educator and Community/Industry Leader Day- March 8th

8:15-8:40am- Check-In/Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors (Atrium)

8:40-8:50am- Welcome (Atrium)

9:00-10:00am- Workshop 1

10:10-11:10am- Workshop 2

11:10-11:35am- Networking (Atrium)


          Community & Industry Members are highly encouraged to attend the day's lunch/plenary sessions (in bold below).


11:35am-12:35pm- Lunch Plenary Session: Southern Virginia School Divisions' STEM-H Highlights- Part 1* (Great Hall)

     Danville City Public Schools- Dr. Stanley Jones, Superintendent

     Franklin County Public Schools- Dr. Mark Church, Superintendent

     Halifax County Public Schools- Dr. Mark Lineburg, Superintendent 

     Henry County Public Schools- Ms. Phyllis Meade, STEM Coordinator 

12:35-12:50pm- Virginia Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni's Remarks

12:50-1:00pm- Break

1:00-2:00pm- Plenary Session: Southern Virginia School Divisions' STEM-H Highlights- Part 2* (Great Hall)

     Martinsville City Public Schools- Mr. Todd Cassell, Career Development & Science Coordinator, CTE Administrator, FIRST Robotics Mentor 

     Mecklenburg County Public Schools- Mr. Paul Nichols, Superintendent 

     Patrick County Public Schools- Ms. Robin Ferguson, Director of Career & Technical Education, Alternative Education 

     Pittsylvania County Public Schools- Dr. Mark Jones, Superintendent 

*Each Southern Virginia School Division will present briefly on STEM-H initiatives and programs in their district. These plenary sessions will serve as an opportunity to hear about the wonderful activities taking place in our region surrounding STEM-H education. We have amazing resources, creativity, and expertise in our region! We hope that attending educators and community & industry members will utilize these sessions to identify initiatives and programs they would like to get invovled with and/or replicate in their home school division.


2:00-2:20pm- Networking

2:20-3:20pm- Workshop 3

3:20-3:30pm- Event Close (Door Prizes) (Atrium)


Click READ MORE below to see this year's Educator Workshops.


Educator Workshops 2018

Workshop 1 (9:00-10:00am)

FIRST Robotics

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Come explore the FIRST progression of programs. We will provide information on how to start a FIRST robotics team at your school. FIRST Lego League Jr., Grades K-4; First Lego League, Grades 4-8; FIRST Technical Challenge, Grades 7-12; and FIRST Robotics Competition Grades 9-12.

Edward Sherlock & Tunstall Robotics Teacm 5950

Tunstall High School

Nursing- Simulation

Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Working with simulation to expore the field of nursing.

Pam Cornell

Danville Community College- Nursing

Planting Science

Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Planting Science is a free online resource for teachers that allows students to connect with practicing plant scientists. Small student teams design and carry out plant related experiments under the mentorship of a plant scientist, allowing students to engage in hands on science experimentation, enhancing team skills and understanding real science. Participants in this session will be introduced to the program, the various modules and resources available through the program, and some techniques to practice with students.

Amy Chattin

Franklin County High School

Splish...Splash...The Energy and Power of Water

Elementary (K-5); 1 hr

In this session, participants will explore two investigations from the FOSS curriculum that support the Virginia Standards of Learning for Sciences. First, participants will design, test, adn redesign a waterwheel that will lift a load. Participants conduct controlled experiments testing variables that affect energy transfer. They will then apply their understanding of the investigations to design a solar water heater.

Teresa Auldridge & Kip Bisignano

Delta Education/FOSS

Adding Motion to STEM Using the TI-Innovator Rover

Secondary (6-12); 2 hrs

In this workshop participants will learn how to program the TI-Innovator Rover using the coding language of TI-Basic. They will program the Rover to navigate through a city and create shapes using angles and lengths. Using the built in sensors on the Rover, participants will program it to change direction and speed depending on the color and light it reads. At the end of this workshop, participants will have a basic handle on coding and a taste of the capabilities of what the Rover can do. The only remaining question is what's next? 

Jamila Gadsden & Daniel Wilkie

Texas Instruments

Light and Optics

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 3 hrs

The nature of light will be observed, measured, and investigated as we discover the behavior of light and the phenomena that occurs as a result of its behavior. Assess student misconception about light and waves as a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Verify the law of reflection and refraction and other light phenomena.

Lillie Small

Danville City Public Schools

 Workshop 2 (10:10-11:10am)

Computer Science SOL Resources and Q & A (Working Title & Description)

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Receive information about suggested resources for the new computer science SOLs implementation, educator training opportunities, and District Roadmaps. You'll also have an opportunity to ask questions about the new computer science SOLs and what they mean for your school division.

Rebecca Dovi & Chris Dovi

Code VA

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

The Good: Projects like our class’ design and preparation of a universal indicator (rainbow) solution, doing the impossible by teaching electron configurations in a hands-on, collaborative way, enhancing critical thinking with tests where students answer questions only with more questions (new versions for physics and chemistry), and my collection of the ten best brain teasers/ logic puzzles. The Bad: Equations! “But how do I know which equation to use?” My current project to help students address this question by giving them “problem flashcards” that allow them numerous quick attempts to design approaches to various problems. The Ugly: Climate change- beyond CO2. Addressing arguments both for and against human-caused warming, our class’ calculation of annual temperature increase just from energy released by our burning of fossil fuels, how to incorporate and motivate understanding of a multitude of scientific concepts in a discussion about global temperature and the many factors that affect it.

Mark Huntress

Patrick Henry Community College

Meet the Avatars!

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

An interactive setting introducing the Mursion Avatars. Participants will be able to teach, interview, and interact with a variety of avatars including, elementary students, parents, teachers, and medical patients. See how the future of professional development and training is being impacted by cutting edge technology.

Dr. Pamela Randall

Longwood University @ New College Institute

Plants and Animals...the Adaptive Engineers

Elementary (K-5); 1 hr

Explore adaptations of living things, such as seed and pollination dispersal, and engage in design challenges using engineering to mimic structures that enable organisms to survive. How do humans mimic animal adaptations into designing resources for our own survival?

Teresa Auldridge & Kip Bisignano

Delta Education/FOSS

Using Technology to Your Advantage

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

This workshop will focus on how to use social media platforms to increase parent and community involvement. Topics include fundraising, advertising special events, and getting your community involved with your classroom or organization through social media.

Amy Whitten

Bluestone Middle School

Robots in my Classroom... Really?!?

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 2 hrs

Grant opportunities for acquiring robots will be presented and discussed including examples of awarded grants from local sources. Attendees will have hands-on experiences with robots while the facilitators provide the basics of getting started. Participants of all backgrounds will be able complete various culminating robot challenges during this workshop.

Jacob Taylor, Jill Collins, & Tommie Evans

STEM Academy, Pittsylvania County Schools

 Workshop 3 (2:20-3:20pm)

Classroom Astronomy and Solar System Science Made Easy

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Through the use of technology and online portals, you can provide your students with immersive visualization in the classroom, using NASA data, resources, tools and techniques. Model celestial events, the solar system, and the night sky with minimal supplies, while providing an easy understanding of the related SOLs.

Brian Buchanan

Danville Science Center

Collaboration Leads to Student Inspiration

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-8); 1 hr

 Upper elementary students participate in the Trout in the Classroom (TIC) and Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) programs through collaboration with the Dan River Basin Association- a local nonprofit. The TIC program allows students to raise trout eggs in the classroom, witness the orderly changes in their life cycle, and insure their basic needs are being met. Watching the trout progress from eggs, to embryos, to alevin, and then fingerlings, students observe the behavioral and physical adaptations which allow the trout to survive. Student observations often result in research activities. At the end of the TIC program, students release the fingerlings into their new home into the Smith River where they see other animals who share this habitat. This allows students to make a connection between the natural world and their society. Streamside Trees in the Classroom allows students to play a vital role in reducing flooding from heavy rains and erosion problems around Beaver Creek Reservoir which is part of their community. Students receive Black Willow tree cuttings which they root in the classroom. The STIC program culminates in a day long field trip for my students where they get to plant their young trees where they will help reduce erosion problems along a waterway in need of streamside vegetation.

Come leanr how you can maximize student engagement, learning, and test performance through collaboration with local, environmental nonprofits. We provide schedules, tips, and strategies which help these programs operate smoothly in the elementary or middle school classroom. We offer teachers a variety of ways to further student learning by providing extension activities relating to animal and plant life cycles. We can demonstrate how participation in these programs can lead to project based learning in the classroom. Our collaboration leads to student inspiration and so much more.

Krista Hodges & Laurie Witt

Dan River Basin Association

Grafting Fruit Trees and Small Scale Orchards

Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Attendees will receive a short overview of fruit tree production and the history of heritage varieties, and then we physically graft some trees for participants to take home. Teachers can share this skill with their students; students can share the trees and eventual fruit with their friends and family.

Ben Capozzi

Elmwood Farm

Implementing the New Computer Science Standards into Core SOL's

Elementary (K-5); 1 hr

Participants will use Scratch,, and other resources to learn how to implement the newly proposed Computer Science standards into core curriculum.

Dottie Betts & Phyllis Meade

Henry County Public Schools

TransForm Your Teaching!

Elementary (K-5) & Secondary (6-12); 1 hr

Are you looking for ways to transform your teaching? In this session, you will learn to use Google Forms to create scavenger hunts, Choose Your Own Adventures, never fail quizzes, and more! You'll leave this session with tools that you can use the next day to empower your students and learning! Bring a device and join the fun!

Shannon Dudley

Danville City Public Schools



Are you a STEM-H educator? Join us for a day of professional development and networking at this year's SOVA STEM-H Summit. The schedule includes both plenary and concurrent sessions with an emphasis on hands-on workshops that provide you with easy to implement curriculum ideas you can take back to the classroom.

For a listing of this year's workshops visit the event Program.

We hope to see you at this year's event!


The 2018 SOVA STEM-H Education & Industry Achievement awards:

  • Community Champion for STEM-H Education
  • STEM-H Educator of the Year
  • Innovative STEM-H Program of the Year
  • Elite STEM-H Education & Industry Partnership Award

Will be recognized at a joint awards banquet with the SPTC's Innovation Stars Awards. Leland Melvin will provide the evening's keynote.

Registration can be made to the Awards Banquet alone ($45) or as an add-on ($25) to March 8th's registration.

Sponsors & Exhibitors

This event would be impossible without the generosity & support of our sponsors. Sponsorship donations allow us to offer this wonderful program to our regional students completely free of charge. Please consider showing your support of STEM-H education by becoming a sponsor of the 2018 Summit.

If your organization supports students or educators in STEM-H we hope you'll consider participating in this year's event as an Exhibitor. Exhibitors are welcome to exhibit for one or both days of the Summit and are highly encouraged to present.