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February 15,  2019
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TechNite19 Nomination Season is Now Open! (4/29)
SVTC Luncheon | Natural Language Processing: What is It and How Does it Affect Business? (2/21)
No-Cost Cybersecurity Assessments at Blue Ridge Community College
Maker City Boot Camps: Laser Cutting Level II (2/16)
Virginia Council on Women STEM Essay Contest for Girls in Grades 11th-12th (deadline 2/22)
Innovation X: JMU Bluestone Hackathon (2/22-2/23)
Spring 2019 ICAP Lean Startup Course (deadline 2/25)
ProjectCSGIRLS Competition for Middle School Girls (register by 3/1)
Future Engineers: Weather Balloon Challenge for Grades K-8 (entries due 3/6)
Capital Region Celebration of Women in Computing (CAPWIC) (3/22-3/23)
Welcome Back Level III Member: JMU College of Business
Welcome Back Level I Member: JMU Technology Innovation and Economic Development
Welcome Back Level I Member: Waynesboro City IT Department
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
Rocktown Tech Slack Channel Link
TechNite19 Nomination Season is Now Open | 
Plan to join your fellow tech users and creators on Monday,  April 29, 2019. 
Until then,  review the award categories and c onsider nominating yourself or someone else! 
The nomination season will last from February 13 - March 13. 

Nominations are most competitive when they are well coordinate between nominator and nominee, AND when they are accurate and complete. Self-nominations are welcome (no one knows who made what nomination for whom.)
Get a head start: review the categories, conceive of a good nominee, start communicating with that potential nominee, and gather the details.
Take a look at the guidelines (pdf) to anticipate questions in each category. 
Neither nominee or nominator need to be a member of the SVTC.  

Everything to get you started:  TechNite19 award categories and nomination guidelines
Ready to submit an award nomination? Nomination forms are now open.
Want to know who's won before? Look at previous SVTC Tech Nite nominees & winners .

Award Categories for 2019:

JMU College of Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE)'s
Innovation in Community Impact Award

The ICI is awarded to an individual, team, non-profit/civic organization, or company in the Shenandoah Valley that aspires to use its capabilities to help solve a social or environmental issue in a local community while using technology to amplify the impact of a service, mission, or project. - A metric or measurable result of the impact is desired. Collaborative efforts are welcome and encouraged.

JMU College of Business (COB)'s
Innovation in Emerging Business Award
Awarded to a Shenandoah Valley start-up/emerging technology company or entrepreneur.
Must have 1-25 employees.

JMU College of Education (CoE)'s & JMU College of Science and Mathematics (CSM)'s
Innovation in Education K-12 Award
Awarded to the educator or program that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use, and/or development of technology, within the region's K-12 educational system or technology-training program while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering or math.

I nnovation in Higher Education Award
Awarded to the educator or program that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use and/or development of technology in the Shenandoah Valley region's higher educational system or technology-training program, while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering, or math.

Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)'s
Innovation in Development Award
Awarded to a company or organization whose development of new technology applications and/or systems creates new processes, methodologies, and/or services for their own or others' benefit.

Dynamic Aviation's
Innovation in Utilization Award
This award recognizes outstanding commercial growth and achievement by an established company that either produces or markets high tech products or services, or an established company or organization that produces/offers more traditional products and services (where technology itself is not the core business purpose).


Shentel's Dr. Noftsinger 
Leadership Award
Recipient's leadership has served as a catalyst for positive technology-related activity in the Shenandoah Valley.

People's Choice Award
Awarded to one nominee from the other categories. All nominees are candidates - and the company, organization, or individual with the most votes through social media before and during the event will win. Voting starts the day all nominees are publicized and continues during the gala. (A special hashtag will be used; look for the announcement)
February 21, 2019 | 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Wood Grill Buffet, Harrisonburg
Natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that is becoming increasingly important for the business community. Given a text input, NLP systems can break the document into sentences and individual words, identify parts of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.), and recognize names of people, places, organizations, etc. NLP also parses sentences to depict the dependency relationships between words, and attempts to recognize coreferences so that pronouns in a document can be associated with names that occur earlier in the document. NLP applications include analysis of twitter feeds, customer reviews, blogs, news stories, or any other corpus of text that may be relevant to an organization. This ability to impose structure on unstructured data promises to be very helpful to industry.

About the Speaker
Mike Mitri, a CIS professor at JMU, has developed an application called Story Analyzer that uses an NLP engine to extract information from a textual narrative and identify the main actions of the story, the people or entities that perform these actions, the people or entities affected by these actions, and other contexts (places, times, etc.). Story Analyzer then displays the results in a dashboard that includes interactive word clouds, geographical map, timeline, and other visualizations. He will discuss the mechanics of NLP and demonstrate the dashboard. A fun time will be had by all.

No-Cost Cybersecurity Assessments
at Blue Ridge Community College 

   BRCC is now offering no-cost basic cybersecurity assessments 
for select businesses in the Shenandoah Valley!

This assessment starts by reviewing  your existing cybersecurity program to understand how prepared you are to deal with sophisticated attacks, including examining your relevant internal documentation, and then meeting with individuals in your organization who know how your security works in practice. You'll develop a profile showing strengths, weaknesses, and suggested improvements across six key cybersecurity areas .

The assessment team will check passwords, operating system versions, network device firmware versions, and the like to assess your risk level and vulnerability to ransomware, phishing attacks, and malware infection . The assessment team  will NOT request access to your computer systems, do any penetration testing of your systems, or access any information on your devices.

When onsite, the cybersecurity assessment team interviews key staff members and conducts interactive discussions with your management and security team to explore areas of concern and to learn how your people, tools, and processes contribute to your current incident detection and response capabilities.

Next, they may ask  to check your operation system versions, firewall and network device firmware versions, antivirus/malware versions, password policies, etc. They do not need any personal details, passwords, or have any access to your data.

Finally, the team will prepare a comprehensive report that details findings and prioritizes recommended actions your organization should take in order to improve its cybersecurity. Also included is a rating of each action's importance , cost, and implementation difficulty, along with a roadmap view of short-, medium-, and long-term implementation strategies.

Interested in getting a free cybersecurity assessment?  Contact Dan O'Brien at or call  (540) 453-2254.
Maker City Boot Camps:
Laser Cutting Level II (2/16)  
Jan. 26, 2019 |  10 am - 12 pm
Explore More Discovery Museum, Harrisonburg
Members: free; Non-members: $7

Boot camps are a great way to get started and to build your Maker City skills. You'll learn more about Maker City's specialized work zones and the Master Maker Badge Program. 

Laser Cutting II - Saturday, February 16th | 10 AM - 12 PM
Learn how the Museum's Laser Cutter works! Students will troubleshoot Inkscape designs and transfer them to the Laser Cutter so the computer renderings can be transformed into a physical object. Prerequisite: Completion of Laser Cutting Level I (previously called 2D Design) Ages 8+

Advance registration required. Free with your membership or paid admission.

Submit online by February 22nd @ 11:59 pm
Each year, the Virginia Council on Women (Council) will provide one scholarship to a high school junior or senior in each of five geographic regions across the Commonwealth. Award amounts may vary and are determined by the Council annually.

Eligibility Requirements
All applicants for the Virginia Council on Women STEM Essay Contest must:
  • Be a Virginia resident
  • Be enrolled in a Virginia-based high school
  • Be a high school junior or senior girl or identify as a girl
  • Be planning to attend an institution of higher education to include but not limited to a community college, four-year college or university, trade or technical school
  • Be planning to pursue a STEM major
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA
Each STEM Essay Contest applicant must adhere to the following:
  • Write an original essay created exclusively for the Virginia Council on Women STEM Essay Contest.
  • The essay should be at least 700 words but shall not exceed 1,000 words.
  • Quotes and any ideas that are not your own should be attributed to the appropriate source within the body of the essay and bibliography. Do not use footnotes and endnotes. Do not include the bibliography in the word count.
  • Do not include illustrations, graphics, or diagrams.
  • Essays should include an explanation of why you want to pursue a STEM career and education 
Feb. 22, 6pm - Feb. 23, 6pm
JMU Lakeview Hall, Harrisonburg
Innovation X is a 24 hour design competition where students are presented with a themed challenge where they search for and create a solution. Students are able to use the resources at the JMU X-labs which include but are not limited to: laser cutting, vinyl cutting, wood working machines etc. At the end of the event a panel of judges, built of business professionals, evaluate projects and award prizes.  This event allows people to practice the design-thinking process, get hands-on experience with prototyping, and meet current professionals in various fields. Also, if you want to attend the event, but you don't have a team don't worry! We can put together teams of individuals at the start.

**Important to note: you don't have to stay at Lakeview the entire time, but there will be free food and activities for the entire duration of the event. Activities include: make your own t-shirt design, networking opportunities (bring your resume - business casual not required), and a special event.

Applications due February 25, 2019 @ midnight

Based on the National Science Foundation's I-Corps™ program for Lean Startups, ICAP helps inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing new technologies and innovations to market.

ICAP includes FREE introductory training programs and counseling services offered through ICAP instructors and local SBDC counselors. ICAP helps startups identify potential customers and develop successful business models based on that knowledge. It is an ideal program for early-stage companies trying to prepare for eventual venture investment.

Important Dates
  • February 25, 2019 - Applications are due by midnight.
  • March 1, 2019 - Acceptance notifications and communication with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.
  • TBD (Early March)- 6:00pm - 8:00pm - Introductory Conference Call
  • March 15, 2019- 9:00am - 5:00pm - Initial Team Presentations
  • March 22, 2019 - Each team participates in a pre-scheduled telephone review of the team's Customer Discovery Progress over the first week
  • April 5, 2019- 9:00am - 2:00pm - Final Team Presentations
During this introductory 2-week program, there is extensive work done outside the classroom. In addition to the class meetings and webinar, participants should expect to spend another 10-15 hours per week on customer discovery and course assignments. At the conclusion of the program, you will remain connected with your ICAP trainers and SBDC Business Advisors to continue your progress on the Five Steps to Startup Success over the following 12 months.

The introductory program is designed to generate a maximum impact over a relatively short duration and should be considered a required first step for anyone interested in commercializing a technology or product, whether through a startup or licensing arrangement. Some graduates of this cohort may be eligible to apply to NSF's full National Seven-week I-Corps Program, which includes non-dilutive grants for customer discovery and prototype development. Additionally, this program can help teams develop better submissions for SBIR and CRCF grants from Virginia's Center for Innovative Technologies.

Your ICAP Instructor
Bob Smith is currently the Director of the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), a program funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by George Mason University and the  Virginia Small Business Development Center Network (VSBDC). Here he helps researchers, inventors, and technology startups develop their technology commercialization and technology business startup efforts. He's also an instructor with the  NSF's DC I-Corp Node, and co-director of the Fed Tech program, which uses Lean Startup methods to assist inventors from government labs to explore the commercial viability of their inventions.

Bob has 30+ years' experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. He is the Chairman of, a leading college rankings website. He's held senior management positions at Congressional Quarterly and America Online in sales, marketing, and new product development and was the founder and CEO of the first nation-wide online city guide, Digital City. As an executive, angel investor, and advisor he has helped companies in e-commerce, e-government, identity management, content publishing, geospatial analytics, data science, and local media go from launch through to favorable exits.
Bob received a BA from USC and his MBA from GWU. He is a veteran of the US Navy.

For more information email:


Register by March 1, 2019
Submit Project online by April 15th
The challenge is simple. Build something using computer science and technology that can help solve an imminent social problem under one of four themes - global health, a safer world, intelligent technology, and bridging inequalities. You can think of it as a virtual hackathon for middle school girls.

Participants will embark on an exciting journey over the next few months while they're building their project. After they pick a theme and finalize a project idea, they'll be ready to get started with building. Building can mean anything from physically putting together machine parts for a robot to writing code for a mobile app to prototyping a new prosthetic device. The possibilities are endless. After an initial build, they will want to test it to make sure everything works the way they want it to. And after multiple retests and rebuilds, they'll finally end up with a product that they're not only proud of, but which can make a difference. More information on how to participate:

About ProjectCSGIRLS
ProjectCSGIRLS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to cultivate a love for technology and computer science in girls and encourage them to pursue their interests and careers in these fields. They believe that nurturing an interest in science, math, and technology during the critical middle school period will help girls to better see themselves as the future leaders of tomorrow. They aim to do this through a unique idea - the nation's largest computer science competition for middle school girls. ProjectCSGIRLS is run by high school and college students from around the country who are incredibly passionate about computer science and technology. 
Entries due online March 6, 2019 by 11:59 pm
The Challenge:  If you are a K-8 student in the United States, your challenge is to design a weather balloon payload for Future Engineers to launch in Los Angeles, CA. 

First: Using historical data, create 2-3 data visualizations that explain Los Angeles weather and/or climate, including average annual temperatures in Los Angeles for the past 20 years. 

Second: Using recycled materials and "paper and penny" mockup components, design a payload that can hang from a helium weather balloon and survive an 8 foot drop test. Your entry must include images (up to 6), a title, and a text description. Be sure to review the CONTEST RULES and DESIGN GUIDELINES for all challenge details and specifications. 

If you win, your design will be launched and you will also get a weather balloon supply kit!
Capital Region Celebration
of Women in Computing (CAPWIC) 
March 22 - 23, 2019 | $25 to attend
James Madison University, Harrisonburg
The Capital Region Celebration of Women in Computing Conference  gives high school students the opportunity to network with women at undergraduate, graduate, and professional networks to promote the recruitment, retention and progression of women in computing related fields that lack diversity in the national work force.

Top Reasons to Attend
  1. Practice public speaking by presenting a poster or flash talk.
  2. Share your work and ideas with your peers and experts during the poster session, flash talk, or technical short.
  3. Get valuable feedback about your work and ideas via your poster presentation or technical short
  4. Win a prize by competing in the Poster Competition.
  5. Be inspired. Meet technical women like you and celebrate your accomplishments together.
  6. Hear success stories of technical women who made it this far!
  7. Broaden your skills by attending a workshop.
  8. Meet recruiters from business, industry, and academia for internships, jobs, or graduate programs.
  9. Find a new job or internship. Bring your resume to our career fair to apply for job and internship opportunities.
  10. Did we mention that it is FUN!
There will be 3 types of participation in the area of computing research as well as efforts to increase diversity in computing, e.g. outreach programs or programs to engage students outside the classroom.
  • Flash Talks: Five-minute presentations of 20 slides, where slides automatically advance every 15 seconds. Talks will have a 15-minute window to provide time for feedback and mentoring. Reports on preliminary results, work-in progress, or anything fun and creative related to the conference are welcome in this category. Open to high-school, undergraduate, or graduate students as well as professionals.
  • Posters: Presenters create a 24" x 32" poster of research, a class project, or other type of work-in-progress including efforts to diversify computing before the conference and are present at the poster during the session to discuss content. Open to high school, undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Research Shorts: An opportunity to give a 15-minute presentation with an additional 5 minutes for questions, similar to a talk at a research conference. Work should be technical in nature, investigating new ideas in any area of computer science. The intention is to give presenters a friendly environment in which to practice a future talk or work out details in an ongoing project with an audience capable of constructive feedback. No paper is required, only an abstract, so future publication of the work is not limited. Open to undergraduates, graduates, and professionals.
Welcome Back Level III Member!
JMU College of Business

The JMU College of Business is a learning community committed to excellence in preparing students to be engaged, principled business professionals and leaders; advancing scholarship in business disciplines; and enhancing organizational performance through our outreach activities.

The traditional business degrees in the college are fully accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an honor achieved by fewer than 5% of business programs worldwide.

JMU business programs ensure students graduate with the knowledge, tools and practice to become collaborative business partners, engaged with ideas and the world.

Our graduates accelerate quickly in their careers building off of the interpersonal, team and other skills they develop in the college.

Students and the community engage in College of Business experiences through the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Professional Sales, the Center for Economic Education and consulting and community service projects.
More information available at:
Welcome Back Level I Member!
JMU Technology Innovation and Economic Development

The JMU Office of Technology Innovation and Economic Development's mission is three-fold: 1) promote innovation through protecting and commercializing intellectual property developed at JMU, 2) create research opportunities by connecting faculty and students with business and industry, and 3) foster economic development through business partnerships and launching startup companies. Along with James Madison Innovations, Inc., JMUs intellectual property management and licensing organization, the two entities connect researchers, entrepreneurs, and professionals in industry and support services to bolster the entrepreneurial infrastructure and promote innovation in the Valley.
Welcome Back Level I Member!
Waynesboro City IT Department

The City of Waynesboro IT Dept is a Level I member of the SVTC.
  • Bridgewater College Art Department (Practitioner in Residence: Visual Designer)

  • SV Electric Cooperative, Harrisonburg (PC Technician, Application Specialist)

  • Jenzabar, Harrisonburg (Software Developer, Senior Software Developer, UX Designer, etc) 

  • Budget Referee, Harrisonburg (Full Stack Developer with front end web development focus)
  • IT Decisions, Harrisonburg (Level 2 Technician / Systems Engineer)
  • Immerge, Harrisonburg (Digital Marketing Specialist & Content Writer)
  • Harrisonburg IT Department (Technology Support Specialist)
  • Chiedo, Harrisonburg (Web Development Intern) -- No experience required!
Participate in the local tech conversation: Rocktown Tech (Slack)

Currently there are 18 channels and over 250 members. Please join in! 
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