September 2018 Newsletter


At the August member meeting, Jennyfer Peterson was recognized with an outpouring of handcrafted gifts and stories in appreciation of her service. The plans were in the works for months to make the recognition truly special. In early summer, I had noticed one of the stewards, Patrick Waters, putting in long hours and was curious what was engaging him. That’s when Patrick let me in on the secret “competition” underway by the stewards to create truly special gifts to honor Jennyfer’s service. This collection of gorgeous gifts, freely given, pays tribute to Jennyfer’s valuable contribution. In the banner photo, Jennyfer, with her captivating smile, is caught out and about in August at the Cardboard Boat Regatta. Jennyfer is enjoying the afternoon at Lake Anne, supporting the Nova Labs crew in the latest creative endeavor, and promoting the makerspace in the community.

We are pleased to welcome Julia Smith to the Nova Labs team. Julia works the front desk kiosk as well as providing valuable behind-the-scenes support. Julia fits right in with her “can-do” attitude, her quick assessment of the tasks at hand, and her love of Nova Labs.

A heartfelt thanks goes to Doug Newton who has nurtured the metal shop. The metal shop is a hub of activity under Doug’s leadership. Doug is transitioning responsibilities to Curt Welch, interim metal shop steward.

Empower2Make Make-A-Thon is coming September 14-16! More about this signature event follows.

Happy Making!


The board extends a warm welcome to our newest key members Troi Bandy, Jeff Nicholas, Olivia Morgan, and Pat Marstall. Additionally, welcome to Julia Smith, makerspace admin, who started August 18. Julia works Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – please stop by to say hello! This month the board is focused on strengthening two aspects of Nova Labs infrastructure: expanding insurance coverage to include our paid instructors and board recruitment. More on board recruitment follows.

>Provided by Margaret Kositch


Nova Labs is looking for board members who embrace the all-volunteer model, who bring a lot of energy to the table, and have genuine enthusiasm for the makerspace concept and the maker movement. The maker movement includes many different worlds, so we want to draw the Nova Labs board from a wide range of candidates. We’d love to talk with candidates with skills in entrepreneurship, manufacturing, creative pursuits, marketing, grant writing, human resources, real estate, technology, finance, non-profit management and leadership in all its forms.

Nova Labs board members hold three-year terms and the terms are staggered, so that two or more directors’ terms end each year. Officer terms are one year. New terms begin in October or November, so now it’s officially Board Recruitment season!

Currently the board is comprised of 7 directors. A plan is underway to expand the board from 7 members to 9, in order to expand the skillset, extend the network of contacts and allow Nova Labs to accomplish more. We anticipate welcoming up to three directors to join the board in the coming months.

A search committee, made up of four Nova Labs members, will work with the broader Nova Labs community to cultivate a candidate pool. Board candidates will have an opportunity to meet with the collective board in October or November. The search committee is facilitating Board Q&A sessions and following up with applicants.

The right people are out there and finding them will require the entire Nova Labs community to pitch in. Ways you can help include talking with people you know who might be interested and coming to one of the Board Q&A sessions. RSVP on meetup appreciated.

Please feel free to reach out to the search committee:

For more details, check out the wiki:
>Provided by Margaret Kositch

Empower2Make | A Make-A-Thon for Assistive Technology

On 14-16 September 2018 teams of elite designers, innovators, entrepreneurs and individuals with special needs will converge at Nova Labs to build custom products to help people with physical challenges in their lives.

During this focused period, teams of engineers, fabricators and designers (we call them “makers”) will work hand-in-hand with people in the special needs community (we call them “need-knowers”) for 72 hours to develop affordable working prototypes to specific challenges. Our goal is to work with partner companies to reproduce these items and make them available the world over, open source and free of charge.

Similar to our annual makerfaire, this make-a-thon is one of Nova Labs signature events that brings our community together and demonstrates the power of the Maker Movement and our collective passion, optimism and perseverance for making the world a better place.

If you were not able to participate this time around, we are planning our next event for April 12-14, 2019. Please encourage future Makers, Need-Knowers and potential Sponsors that would like to support us to fill out the forms on our website. Email:

> Provided by the Empower2Make Team: Bo Pollett Wernick, Jade Garrett, Fred Briggs, Tae Edell, Jennyfer Peterson, Callye Keen, Mike Hogarty and Patrick Thompson


Celebrating Jennyfer Peterson

Nova Labs bestowed the inaugural Volunteer of the Year award to Jennyfer Peterson, Event Team Lead at the August Member meeting. If you have ever taken a class, attended an event, read a policy, talked to one of our incredible interns, or even asked a question at Nova Labs, you have benefited from Jennyfer’s direct or behind-the-scenes work. Where there is maker hay to be had, Jennyfer is the one tilling the field and ensuring the sun shines. When you next see Jennyfer, take the time to thank her for her hard work, positive attitude, and willingness to help Nova Labs grow and expand into the best little makerspace in the DMV.
To honor her incredible organization and execution Maker powers, the stewards of the CNC, Arts & Crafts, Wood Shop, Blacksmithing, and Metal Shop all made gifts to honor her commitment to the lab. Suzanne Chanesman, our graphic artist extraordinaire, created a wonderful picture and plaque which hangs on our wall of fame.


For the second year, Nova Labs and Maker Faire have participated in the Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta. Several Nova Labs members also took up the challenge. The material list consisted of cardboard, wood glue, water based paint, and duct tape. Sound like a challenge?

Captains Quincey (USS Cinder), Paul (Wisdom Cube), Sam (Nova Labs), and Shane (Maker Faire) ran great races. The Cinder crew, Captain Quincey and 1st LT Lea, stole the show with first place. Nova Labs tracked a straight line, sorta’. The Maker Faire boat managed to keep the bottom down. All better than the previous year.

We had a great volunteer showing, thanks to all – you know who you are. All challenges were met with fun and sun. 😉

>Provided by Shane Smith


Woodshop Round Up

The woodshop will hold an End of Summer Round Up on Sept 8th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. The WoodshopCowboy will BBQ Texas style, so get there on time to get food.

5:30pm to 6:30pm – Round Up
6:30pm to 8:30pm – Food, Awards, Updates, Conversations

Please nominate a woodworker & Nova Labs Maker for any one, or five, or all of the following categories:

Stewards will vote/pick/draft/inexplicably choose just like the Oscars one nomination for:

  1. Woodworker of the Year – Woodworker who most exemplifies the Nova Labs maker ethos
  2. Shop Volunteer of the Year – Maker volunteer who has made the biggest impact in the past the year
  3. Mentor of the Year – Maker who has taken time out of his or her busy schedule to give back to you and others
  4. Social Media Maven/Over-Sharer of the Year – The maker with the biggest mouth and is always showing off his or her latest, greatest, sweetest project!
  5. Over-Engineer Engineer that Could of the Year – For the maker who bites off a little bit more than he or she can chew….EVERYTIME!
  6. Who Made That? Maker of the Year – An award of ambition, if not completion. Often given to the maker who leaves his or her completely weird project on the shop shelf….just because….
  7. Slacker of the Year (Maker who Contributes Most Online) – Your Slack friend and mine.

And we will give away as many of these as we have nominations for:

  • I Learned Something From You Award
  • Volunteer Appreciations
  • Donor Tip o’ the Hats!

Send nominations to or or DM on Slack @woodshopcowboy

>Provided by WoodshopCowboy

Maker recognition:

Two of Chip Levy’s pieces have been selected for the 48th Annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park in MD. The piece “Starlight Over Waco” (top) was mostly fabricated at Nova Labs. Congratulations, Chip!

>Provided by Chip Levy

New makerspace administrator: Julia Smith

Julia brings with her 30+ years of executive admin experience. She is looking forward to meeting and working with all of you. Please say hello if you haven’t met her yet! Julia runs the front desk on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.


Volunteers needed to work at two outreach events, on Saturday 10/13 at Edison HS in Alexandria, and Saturday 11/3 at Virginia Tech – Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church. Both events are aimed at kids, so we are looking for kid-friendly, mind-expanding, hands-on activities. Contact Jeanne Marshall or Margaret Kositch.
Empower2Make Hospitality and Logistics support team help. September 14th,15th and 16th. Help with organizing, food, and other event support needs. I need a few good makers with energy and team spirit. Contact

In addition, Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Programmers needed for Nova Pass development effort
  • Front Desk person for Monday evenings
  • Outreach team members – Help our team lead with the website, social media, pictures, marketing, and outreach to external communities
  • Open house tour helpers, 2nd Saturday of each month
  • Fall interns at college and high school level
  • Wiki information maintainers

Contact if you’re interested.