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The Shenandoah Valley Connectiontop 
October 9, 2020
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Tech Nite 2020 | Winners Announced
Governor Northam Allocates $30 Million in CARES Act Funding to Fast-Track Broadband Projects
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)
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
Rocktown Tech Slack Channel Link

We are delighted to announce this year's TechNite20 winners! Congratulations!

Innovation in Community Impact Award

Innovation in Emerging Business Award

Innovation in Education K-12 Award

Innovation In Higher Education Award
Innovation in Development Award

Innovation in Utilization Award

Dr. John Noftsinger Leadership Award

People's Choice Award
To view the full listing of all 25 nominees, please visit

The nominations were received by mid-March and covered the period of spring 2019-spring 2020; we will
 capture the many innovations that took place after March 2020 at the next Tech Nite in 2021. Here are brief summaries of each of the 25 nominees. 
TechNite20 Program (pdf).

Thank you to everyone for a magnificent night! Networking was excellent, we dare say. 


Richmond, VA - October 7, 2020

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia is allocating $30 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to improve broadband access in underserved localities.

Localities must apply for the funding, and eligible projects are those able to be completed within the time constraints on spending federal dollars, which means more Virginians could get connected to high-speed, broadband internet by the end of the year.

"Broadband is to today's economy like electricity was generations ago-when you have it, you can get ahead," said Governor Northam. "High-speed internet is essential for students to connect to education, business to connect to the wider world, and citizens to connect to work. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more clear, as so much of our lives have moved to virtual platforms. Since day one of our administration, we have made it a priority to increase access to broadband, and I am pleased that we can help more Virginians make those connections now, when they are needed most."

The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia estimates that 200,000 K-12 students and 60,000 college students in Virginia lack access to broadband at home. Universal broadband access has been a priority for the Northam administration, which has worked to support broadband infrastructure projects capable of connecting more than 108,000 homes and businesses. Governor Northam's current budget proposals include $85 million in investments for broadband infrastructure. 

"Any part of Virginia without broadband risks being left behind in our increasingly digital world," said Senator Jennifer Boysko, Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. "This initiative will speed up the work of connecting every corner of Virginia, so that everyone has access to opportunity."
"Broadband access is a matter of equity, as the pandemic and the rise in virtual meetings and classes demonstrate," said Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Vice Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. "Getting broadband access to rural and urban Virginia helps to ensure that everyone in Virginia moving forward together, and I applaud the Governor for devoting CARES Act funding to this critical priority."
The CARES Act funding allocated to this initiative is separate from other broadband funding streams. Localities are encouraged to creatively address the digital divide, including projects that address infrastructure or the cost of broadband services.  

The follow are examples of eligible projects. Projects not listed below, but related to broadband and telecommunications expansion will also be considered.
  • Broadband infrastructure capable of delivering a minimum of 25Mbps/3Mbps to Virginians currently unserved, with limited overbuilding of existing infrastructure.
  • Broadband service connection costs for passings or property with high cost for individual connections, no greater than $10,000 per connection. Examples of such connections are for passings with long driveways, on a private road, or that have costs associated with a rail or highway crossing.
  • Cellular transmission equipment for parts of the Commonwealth without cell service. 
The program will launch Friday, October 9, and only localities are eligible to apply for funding. Additional information will be provided to local chief administrative officers. Detailed program and application information will be made available 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.

  • 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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