NCS and FCPS Forge New Partnership to Offer Virtual STEAM Series


Pier Penic, Smithsonian
Sam Ettaro interviews Pier Penic, Education Specialist for the Smithsonian.

In a new partnership, the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and Fairfax County Public Schools have teamed up to offer Gathering STEAM, an asynchronous course for students in grades 7-12. Each course explores a topic in science, technology, engineering, arts, or math and engages students in an entertaining television show format. 

Gathering STEAM is an authorized afterschool program and is currently available through three Fairfax County public schools and on NCS Connects, the county’s virtual platform for youth and teens. Each course includes a 30-minute video and a complete lesson plan with 5-8 follow-up activities. While live sessions are offered on occasion, the short courses are designed for students to walk through lessons on their own.

The weekly series is hosted and produced by Sam Ettaro, Clubhouse Coordinator at the Gum Springs Community Center Clubhouse in Alexandria and one of several Information Technology Educators for NCS. The pilot episode features a discussion about a collaboration between the Clubhouse Network and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Guest Pier Penic, K-12 Education Specialist for the Smithsonian, talks about the “Peace Warriors for the Arts” project, inviting involvement from students. 

Penic explains, “Peace Warriors for the Arts is an opportunity for teen clubhouse members around the world to use all aspects of technology to explore, educate and create a platform for global understanding through an African lens. Not only are they learning about a global culture, but they will have the opportunity to work with team leaders and mentors. Also, teen members can select three or more art projects to complete during the school year.”

Web TV interviews such as the one with Penic are used as the foundation for the activities laid out in Gathering STEAM.

‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ Is Free On Steam Until Oct. 19



  • Steam users can play “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” for free until Oct. 19
  • It’s part of the 60th anniversary celebration of Sega, which started as a slot machine maker
  • “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is famous for introducing the world to two-tailed fox sidekick Tails

In celebration of Sega’s 60th year, a beloved sequel from the glory days of the Sega Genesis is now free to play on Steam.

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” first released in 1992 as a sequel to the first appearance of the furry, blue hedgehog, is free on Steam until Oct. 19. This classic had most of the elements from the previous game with one crucial addition, namely Tails, the twin-tailed fox who serves as Sonic’s sidekick.

Since Tails’ debut, he has appeared in several more video games and comics, as well as on Sonic’s adventures as an animated character. Miles “Tails” Prower is Sonic’s most trusted ally and best friend, a sweet-natured and humble fox who Sonic relies on in his battles against Dr. Robotnik.

Sega was founded by Americans Martin Bromley and Richard Stewart as Nihon Goraku Bussan in 1960 before it acquired its predecessor and the basis of its current name, Service Games of Japan. The company began as a maker of coin-operated slot machines before entering the game console market in 1982.

The rise of Sega as a maker of video games was evident when it created the Sega Mega-Drive in Japan in 1988, which was marketed as the Sega Genesis in the U.S. during the 8-bit and 16-bit era of gaming.

The popularity of Sonic the Hedgehog, particularly in the 1990s, made him an easy choice as the company mascot and someone to rival Nintendo’s own Mario during that generation of console wars. Sega continued to produce consoles such as

QAnon: What you need to know as this strange, pro-Trump conspiracy theory gains steam



QAnon followers continue to grow in numbers. 

Getty Images

QAnon, a conspiracy theory that started on anonymous message boards and holds that US President Donald Trump is fighting a battle against evil, has jumped from the online world to everyday life. Now the broad and baseless hoax is influencing politics, with dozens of congressional candidates professing belief in a cabal of Satanist Democrats, child-trafficking elite and a deep state determined to topple the president. Just to be absolutely clear: These are bogus claims. 

The conspiracy theory appears to have started in 2017 when an online poster using the handle “Q” claimed ties to President Donald Trump. Other conspiracy theorists found and amplified Q’s posts, known as Q drops, expanding the audience for the cryptic messages. Three years on, QAnon continues to grow at a quick clip, and the FBI says it poses a threat to the nation. 

Understanding QAnon requires a look at where the conspiracy theory started, what its followers believe and how it’s provoked acts of violence in the real world. The hoax has troubled lawmakers enough to prompt a bipartisan resolution condemning it.

Here’s what you need to know about the weird world of QAnon.

QAnon sounds wild. What can you tell me about it? 

QAnon is an online conspiracy theory that claims Trump is waging a secret war against a deep state of Democratic elites and Hollywood stars who are pedophiles and Satan worshipers. Cannibalism is in there someplace too. Really, that’s what they believe. 

The conspiracy theory dates back to October 2017, when an anonymous post on a message board said extradition agreements had been struck with several countries “in case of cross

Women in Technology Announces the 2020 Women of the Year in STEAM Award Finalists


Finalists announced for the annual event celebrating girls and women and STEAM.

ATLANTA (PRWEB) October 06, 2020

The Women of the Year Awards in STEAM gathers top Georgia companies at the forefront of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) industries to recognize and announce the Woman of the Year – women who demonstrate leadership and vision in business, and are remarkable women who make a difference in our community. Additionally, one special WIT Girl will be recognized as the Girl of the Year for her exemplary achievement and dedication to STEAM education and for the first time, WIT will be awarding Campus Student of the Year.

This year, 140 women were honored by being nominated as a Woman of the Year in STEAM. Each honoree holds a business or STEAM leadership role within an organization in Georgia or have shown excellence in STEAM education studies.

One winner from each category will be announced on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at the WIT Awards Virtual Gala event. Here are this year’s finalists in eight categories:


  • Gladys Delancey-Bolding, Scientist- Biologue Laboratorium
  • Michelle Yi, Practice Lead, Global AI Center of Purpose- Slalom
  • Kashmira Date, Medical Officer & Activity Team Lead- Center for Disease Control & Prevention


  • Venessa Harrison, President of AT&T Georgia- AT&T
  • Beth Mynatt, Regent’s Professor & Executive Director- Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology
  • Namita Tirath, Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer- Pyramid Consulting, Inc.


  • Paula Garcia Todd, Global Strategic Manager- DuPont
  • Anna Kupchenko, Director, IT Business Applications- Finance- SiteOne Landscape Supply
  • Prital Ullal, Executive Director Enterprise Data & Analytics- NCR Corporation


  • Candice Alger, Supervising Producer/Professor of Practice Virtual- Georgia State University
  • Dot Bustelo, Founder and CEO- Loupe Art
  • LaRonda Sutton, Owner-


  • Sofiya Anikina, Data Analytics Manager- InComm
  • Shalini Joshi, Executive Director of IT- NCR

The Milky Way Tech Hub continues STEAM & Dream program, announces partnership with Marquette


A Milwaukee tech incubator has announced a new partnership with Marquette University and the opening of an application for its next STEAM & Dream session.

Nadiyah Johnson and JetConstellations wants more diversity in Milwaukee’s tech space



STEAM & Dream is the brainchild of Nadiyah Johnson, the founder of Jet Constellations and the Milky Way Tech Hub, who is on a mission to diversify the tech industry. The program supports K-12 students and young adults interested in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM.

The program has already led two virtual sessions, the first of which outlined the basics of computer science, while the second focused on learning the computer coding language of Python.

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Working in concert with American Family Insurance — which pledged $50,000 to the program last year — as well as Connect Business Consulting, session three of the program will involve students learning “about the different phases of product development from the startup lens,” including customer interviews and pitch sessions.

graphical user interface: Nadiyah Johnson, founder of Jet Constellations, started to help create diversity in Milwaukee's tech when she noticed there weren't enough people of color in Milwaukee STEM.

© Carrie Mahone
Nadiyah Johnson, founder of Jet Constellations, started to help create diversity in Milwaukee’s tech when she noticed there weren’t enough people of color in Milwaukee STEM.

Johnson noted she gave out more than 100 computers during each of the first two sessions; this time around, she is expecting to give out 60 to the 80 students who have signed up so far.


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Session three, which is open to any Wisconsin student from middle to high school, will also involve a student pitch competition before a panel of judges who are part of the hub; the winner will have a chance to win $1,000.

Students can apply to session three and request a computer through this form. Submissions close