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The Shenandoah Valley Connectiontop 
October 2, 2020
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Tech Nite 2020 | October 7 | Reservations Open
How to Vote for the People's Choice Award #SVTCPC20 - and how is the voting going?
Tech Nite 2020 | Award Sponsorship Available
ElectionHackathon: Design a platform for your own democratic voting system (10/16 - 11/2)
Congressional App Challenge | For Middle & High School Students (deadline 10/19)
MetaCTF CyberGames 2020 | Free & Online (10/24)
CodeVA Eureka | Online Tech Workshops for Kids (October)
Welcome Back Level I Member: Collegiate Customs
COVID-19 Business Resources, Local Open/Closed Businesses, & Other Information
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
Rocktown Tech Slack Channel Link

Wed., Oct. 7 | 4:30 - 6:00 pm | Reservations Now Open | $20

The 'how' of this live event (with at-will networking):
  • Congratulations to 25 nominees. They are from all over the Valley. Here they are
  • Our reimagined Tech Nite gala is a remote hybrid event: Wed, Oct 7, 2020 with both live and recorded segments.
  • The virtual platform is called REMO and allows all users to move around at will, e.g. join people at tables andmove on when they are ready. Networking will be at-will and in small groups.
  • All attendees will create their profile and a virtual "business card". 
    (This is not like a Zoom breakout room.)
  • Award ceremony as always: 8 awards, 8 presenters, nominees, 8 winners! The Serco People's Choice Award will be voted on via social voting (with a hashtag) before and during the event and the winner will be announced in the last segment of Tech Nite, as always.
  • Date: Oct. 7, 2020Time of day: 4:30 pm
    (doors open at 4 pm) 
  • Alas, everyone will have to coordinate their own desert! If anyone is thinking of a watch party - let us know!! (Should we stream it live to Facebook or YouTube?)
  • What is REMO? Glad you asked! Check out the platform (YouTube). (We will use Remo with the facilitation of eSAX)
  • Set up your Remo profile now
  • Make a Tech Nite reservation

About Tech Nite
Tech Nite is the premier tech-centric event in the Valley.  Tech users and creators gather to honor and recognize the area's technology innovators. This recognition helps organizations and individuals immensely - the winning organization is able to expand its network, attract employees, and obtain publicity inside and often outside of the local region. Tech Nite allows attendees to witness the successes and innovative progression of the Shenandoah Valley. The recognition helps organizations and individuals immensely - the winning organization is able to expand its network, attract employees, and obtain publicity inside and often outside of the local region. 

Tech Nite allows attendees to witness the successes and innovative progression of the Shenandoah Valley. Lastly, we get to publicize the region's successes widely!

Questions? Send us a note at


Who's your favorite for the Serco People's Choice Award? Pick one of your favorite nominees and then vote for them using this year's hashtag, either  on Twitter, Instagram, or use a special FB Messenger bot named "Walter" (details below). This is the chance for the 25 nominees in the other 7 award categories to win again, to be the people's choice! ALL nominees are candidates, and anyone (only humans; no bots) can vote for a favorite.

Where to vote:
Public social media posts that use this year's hashtag (#SVTCPC20) AND the name of the nominee (or company/organization name) will be counted. You can use either of the two following options:
  • Twitter (set to public), IG (set to public)
  • A private Facebook Messenger note to "Walter" (more information below)
We'll accumulate votes before and through the night of the event. The winner will be announced at the end of the event.

Voting with the Walter Messenger bot:
This option is great for anyone who doesn't have a public Twitter and IG account! Open your Facebook Messenger and send a direct vote to the bot "Walter." (He is the Facebook Messenger bot.) It's easy. Open your Facebook Messenger, and compose a new message to: Talk to Walter (in the TO line). Once that populates, type out your enthusiasm for your nominee and remember the hashtag (e.g. I want [nominee name] to win. She is the best. #SVTCPC20). If you see the suggestion "post to wall," click it.
FYI, "Walter" accepts pictures as well - send the picture first, then follow it up with a message and the hashtag. "Walter" is now active and ready for your votes!

Sample Voting Verbiage (incl. but not limited to):
  1.  For someone else: 
    • I vote for [nominee name or handle] for the Serco #SVTCPC20
    • [nominee name or handle] is the best and should totally win the Serco #SVTCPC20
    • Congratulations, ${"["}@nominee name or handle] you should win #SVTCPC20 on October 7
  2. Self-vote:
    • We are nominated for the Serco #SVTCPC20 on October 7 and think we should win
    • Our [job title] is nominated for the Serco Tech Nite award and we believe she is the best and should win the #SVTCPC20
How is he voting going? Check the #SVTCPC20 social wall at

Questions? Email us at


One rare sponsorship opportunity is available!

This year we are able to offer one award sponsorship. Award sponsorships are the most valuable opportunities we can offer for our event and come around very rarely. Benefits include a high visibility, 10 guests from your organization, and NAMING RIGHTS to the award! The available award sponsorship is the Innovation in K-12 Education Award. 

The Innovation in K-12 Education Award is given to an educator or program in K-12 that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use and/or development of technology while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering or math. All the benefits and cost in one place: SVTC Tech Nite sponsorships (PDF).

Interested? Please contact Nicky at


ElectionHackathon: Design a platform for your own democratic voting system (10/16 - 11/2)

We are an international network of diverse professionals, educators, students, and hobbyists that unify together to combat humanitarian problems through software solutions with a project based approach to learning. 

Now more than ever people around the world are dissatisfied with the antiquated election systems, As programmers we feel like we needed to provide a platform to motivate other programmers to channel their isolation into a collaborative effort to design democratic systems that represent all voices in this modern age.

Benefits of  #ElectionHackathon
  • Channels Isolation into Innovation
  • Bring Coders Together From All Backgrounds
  • Opens Avenues to Discuss Flaws in Democratic Systems
  • Long Enough to Develop Impactful Solution
  • Promoting Interdisciplinary Learning: Bringing Tech into Social Space
  • Allows Public to Motivate Coders to Develop Existing Ideas
  • Networking Opportunity
  • STEM Education
  • Technical Support for Aspiring Programmers
  • A Way to Collaborate During Pandemic
  • A Constructive Way to Get Technically Involved in Election Process
  • Opportunity for Students to Win Money
  • Building Resume with Relevant Projects
  • Recruitment Opportunity for Employers
In a race to tackle flaws in modern democratic systems, we decided,  in these tough economic times, to inspire people to use STEM to join the fight along with a $1000+ prize.

You have 17 days (Friday October 16, 11:00AM EST - Sunday November 1, 11:59PM EST) for your team (1-5 people) to develop a platform for your own democratic system for the citizens of the world to vote on issues and/or candidates. This is not meant to be a digitization of current voting systems, but rather your own redesign on global electoral systems through the facilitation of modern technology.

Develop a software solution (as a shippable product) that has its own democratic system for voting on issues and/or candidates.

The more people consider for a team, the more the prize split. Your team can be up to 1-5 people. All members must register for the competition, and also specify their team name with fellow team members' github usernames. If you do not have team mates, you can find other members on our Discord server.


The Congressional App Challenge, the official student coding competition of the U.S. House of Representatives, is an initiative encouraging American students to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science through a series of district-specific competitions. Over 250 Members of Congress have already signed on to host App Challenges in their districts, several of which are within the Shenandoah Valley.

Students can use any programming language and any platform. There are no limits on application theme or topic. To be eligible to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, students must be a middle or high school student at the time of app submission. Students may register as individuals or as teams of up to four. No more than four students are allowed to form a team. Students may compete in the district they reside in or the district they attend school in. View the rules for participating

Students can only submit apps to the Congressional App Challenge if their Member of Congress has signed up to host a contest in their district. You can view participating districts at

On Saturday, October 24th, 2020, MetaCTF will host it's 6th annual virtual, jeopardy-style CTF! This event is free and open to everyone. Participants can compete in teams of up to 4, with separate scoreboards for students and non-students.

This CTF will challenge and encourage participants to learn new techniques and concepts related to cybersecurity, with problems covering topics such as web exploitationcryptographybinary exploitationreverse engineeringforensics, and reconnaissance.

Throughout the CTF a series of talks, problem walkthroughs, and sessions with well-known cybersecurity professionals will be livestreamed! Participants will have opportunities to network with sponsors and recruiters.

Never done a CTF? No problem! This event does not require any previous cybersecurity experience, and CTFs are a great way to get started in cybersecurity. While there will still be plenty of hard problems for those looking for a challenge, the goal is for you to walk away with some new techniques and skills.
Prizes? Yes! There will be both prizes and swag for top-placing teams. 

About MetaCTF
Based in Charlottesville, VA, MetaCTF aims to make cybersecurity education accessible and fun. They create hands-on, interactive, and learning-based competitions and trainings that make it easy to learn new cybersecurity skills by breaking down complex cybersecurity concepts into engaging challenges that simulate real world scenarios. Since 2014, MetaCTF has held over 45 events and trainings globally and written hundreds of CTF problems.


Through experimentation and supported trial and error, students learn and grow. Introducing children to concepts allows them to create a physical artifact that will reinforce the new information. CodeVA's curriculum is designed to teach children computer science concepts that apply to all programming languages. 

Eureka Workshops offer computer science experiences that combine the problem-solving skills of the visual arts and coding. These workshops introduce your child to the world of computational thinking appropriate for their age group through play. 

Some upcoming workshops and classes:

Earsketch 101 Workshop | October 2, 2020 | Grades 6th - 12th
Learn how to code your own music! This 90 minute workshop covers the basics of using the online DAW Earsketch to make music with Python. $15.

Food Science Bloggers | Oct 2, 2020 - Oct 30, 2020 | Ages 8 - 17 yrs 
Create a digital brand or personality by starting an explorative food blog. We'll learn how to take care of a live sourdough starter and make tasty snacks, then turn the results into blog entries. Making smart choices online is common sense, and this camp will give students the (tasty) tools to participate in a digital future. $50.

Intro to Virtual Robot Design Workshop | Oct 14, 2020 | Grades 6th - 8th  
In this 90 minute workshop, students will be exploring robotics and introducing to Computer Aided Design. Students will learn the basics of designing and building a robot virtually on the computer! Computer Aided Design or CAD is used throughout the process of creating robots to simulate and test different aspects of the design. $15.

Earsketch 201 Workshop | Oct 16, 2020 | Grades 6th - 12th  
Earsketch 201 covers more possibilities the DAW offers such as making custom loops, creating your own rhythms, using expanded access to samples, and utilizing random and generative music techniques. $15.

GB Studio: A Visual Coding Game Engine | Oct 22, 2020 | Grades 6th - 8th  
"GB Studio: A Visual Coding Game Engine" will be an hour and a half long guided seminar. Enrolled students can follow along by downloading the program ahead of time, or watch to see if they think the program will be right for them!  $15.

Intro to Robotics Programming Workshop | Oct 28, 2020 | Grades 6th - 8th  
In this workshop, students will explore the building blocks of robotics programming. Using the browser based VEX VR system, students will learn how to program virtual robots. Starting with the basics of moving the robot around the course and moving to use different sensors on the robot to control it's behaviors, students will get a powerful introduction to the world of robotics programming! $15.

Voxel Art Workshop | Oct 29, 2020 | Grades 4th - 8th  
A Voxel is a "Pixel with Volume," aka a cube! Sculpting with Voxels is a lot like building with Legos. In this workshop, we will cover various tools used to create voxel art. Students can follow along and learn the tools, or sit back and watch to decide whether or not the unique quirks of sculpting with voxels is for them! $15.

Welcome Back Level I Member!
Collegiate Customs
Collegiate Customs is a custom apparel company founded by two JMU students. Frustrated with the shirt-ordering experience for their own student groups, Chris and Sina began printing shirts for their own clubs in the attic at JMU X-Labs. Through word-of-mouth recommendations, demand quickly outstripped their production capability in the attic. They expanded into their current production facility to keep pace with orders from students across campus who demanded a better custom gear experience.
Today, Collegiate Customs delivers custom apparel and promotional gear to college organizations, fashion lines, and other businesses across the country. By diving deep into providing an unparalleled customer experience, Collegiate Customs' mission is to simplify and improve the custom apparel ordering process. Whatever your custom gear needs may be, our in-house team of artists and customer representatives will not rest until your exact vision has been realized.
COVID-19 Resources & Local Open/Closed Businesses
During this uncertain time, we feel the need to share information that will help our readers monitor the current situation. Below we have linked several resources. 

Get the COVIDWISE app at

We also recommend you take a look at the following article providing additional COVID-19 resources for economic development planning and recovery

Resources to monitor COVID-19 updates:
Open/closed businesses (& altered hours of operations) in the Shenandoah Valley:
Broadband Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Virginian's ability to work, access healthcare and education, and has magnified the digital divide more than ever before. The Commonwealth Connect team has launched a webpage to provide information about what both the federal government and Virginia's ISPs are doing in response to the crisis. Please see:

Local City & County Recovery Funding
  • Rockingham County Small Business Grant Program: This program can assist a small business with cash needed for working capital to support rent or mortgage payments, utility, payroll, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business through the pandemic. 
  • Staunton Downtown Development Association "Better Together" Grants: "Better Together" grants will be awarded to Downtown Service District (DSD) businesses who join forces to develop new products and services in the wake of COVID-19. Grant dollars will aid businesses in covering the costs of advertising, marketing, or promotions of their newly created products and combined services. This is a rolling grant with multiple periods of availability.
Business Resources
  • SBA's Disaster Loan is a program designed to help small businesses and non-profit organizations meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot otherwise be met as a direct result of COVID-19. The SV SBDC provides information and assistance in the loan preparation documents. To learn how to apply for the SBA EIDL: Economic Injury Disaster Loan. For assistance from the SVSBDC to apply see here:
  • Status of Building Officials' offices across the Commonwealth on VBCOA website
  • Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational RegulationCOVID-19 Update Page outlines regulated non-essential businesses that most close 
  • FEMA has a page on HOW TO HELP that gives contact information producing COVID-19 related products.  *Contact the SBDC office if you want more detail on the challenges of creating/manufacturing personal protective products, and we'll put you in touch with our International Trade Manager and other subject matter experts.
  • Information Technology Specialist II, Western State Hospital | Staunton
  • Solder Technician, VIRTEX | Waynesboro
  • IT Operations Technician, Segra | Waynesboro
  • Systems Analyst/Developer, Augusta County Service Authority | Verona
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