Teacher Professional Development


NOVA SySTEMic is committed to providing STEM professional development opportunities for educators in the Northern Virginia region to support the growing demands of the workforce. We help educators increase their skills as technologies develop, providing formal and informal support in many STEM-related topics.

See below for current opportunities. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on new opportunities as they become available.

Financial Support for STEM Teacher PD kindly provided by:

Professional Development in Digital Fabrication

Middle and high school educators are invited to join the NOVA Fab Lab team for a FREE five-part professional development series focused on understanding digital fabrication software and its application to various makerspace equipment.

All sessions are held 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the NOVA Fab Lab, NOVA Manassas Campus.

Adobe Illustrator and Laser Cutting Concepts - Tuesday, February 13

This workshop will introduce the foundations of vector-based design and illustration, specifically for laser cutters. We will use Adobe Illustrator and Universal CO2 laser cutters to create, edit, and process designs for several types of materials. The teaching method will be a follow-along / hands-on approach. An example of how we use these tools for our own Fab Lab workshops will be provided.

TinkerCAD and Introduction to 3D Scanning - Tuesday, March 5

This hands-on workshop will introduce 3D scanning and 3D modeling using Ein-Scan 3D scanners and TinkerCAD software. Participants will create a physical model to scan, operate a 3D scanner, and import their models into TinkerCAD. We will demonstrate the essential functions of TinkerCAD and provide an example of how we use these tools for our own Fab Lab workshops.

Slicing with Prusa and 3D Printing Concepts - Monday, March 18

This workshop will provide a detailed overview of the PRUSA slicing software, including modification options to the 3D model and tips and tricks for optimizing print speed and quality. A variety of 3D print examples will be reviewed to compare variations in print, infill, and support settings.

Design Thinking in the Classroom - Monday, April 8

Our industry partners have voiced a collective concern that graduates lack the soft skills required for creativity and empathy). Our Design Thinking and fabrication exercises might hold the key to reversing this trend. Design Thinking principles will be practiced, modeled, and discussed in this hands-on workshop. 

Online Registration

Registration closes three days prior to the session.

DCO Tech Secondary Externship Program

This National Science Foundation-sponsored grant program is open to secondary school CTE administrators, teachers, and college/career counselors. The Secondary Externship Program will equip participants to build awareness of the region's Engineering Technology (ET) and Data Center Operations (DCO) careers and the educational pathways NOVA provides to prepare students for these in-demand and high-wage careers.

Secondary Externship Participants will:

  • Attend a tour and professional development day at the NOVA Manassas Fab Lab.
  • Attend an industry tour focused on engineering technology career opportunities and daily operations.
  • Attend a data center tour to explore data center career opportunities and daily operations to keep the world connected.
  • Develop a plan to create awareness of and guide students to NOVA's DCO and ET programs.
  • Receive a $500 stipend for participation.
  • The program runs from mid-March through mid-June.


Design Thinking Fellowship - MBD Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored program is open to middle and high school teachers, informal STEM learning professionals, and college faculty. Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem-solving collaboratively, interdisciplinarily, and non-linearly.

Design Thinking Fellows Will:

  • Complete a 5-day Professional Learning (PL) Institute in the Spring at NOVA's Fab Lab.
  • Practice teaching PL topics at a 1-week fabrication summer camp.
  • Participate in the Fall Fab Lab Design Challenge.
  • Create lesson plans for sharing to digital repository focused on design thinking and digital fabrication.
  • Receive a $2,200 stipend for participation.

The 2024 program application will be available in February 2024.   Sign up for our newsletter  to keep up with program announcements.

Training Requests

NOVA SySTEMic provides on-site professional development as needed throughout the school year and summer. Training opportunities are available in programming, microelectronics, digital fabrication, and robotics. Training can last a few hours or all day, depending on division/school needs. SySTEMic can provide the laptops and materials for participants. Please complete the form below or contact us directly with your questions.


Contact Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer at   nschuhnuhfer@nvcc.edu or 703.948.7680.