The Knowledge Economy & Innovations in STEM

JASON Regional Conference 2022

June 22 & 23, 2022

8:00AM - 4:00PM
Portsmouth, VA

Choose a Conference Strand

Three Conference Strands to Choose From: Educators will select ONE strand to attend for the duration of the conference

Grades Pre-K-5 Strand

JASON For Elementary

Early Childhood

Grades 6-12 Strand

A MWEE – Beyond the Water Bottle – Minimizing Microplastic Pollution

Keynote Speakers & Guest Presenters

Mia D. Joe, PhD, Director, Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab, Old Dominion University

Dr. Joe is the Director of Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab at Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center (VMASC). Dr. Joe has over 27 years of education and workforce development experience. Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab represents a consortium of academic, not-for-profit, government, and industry organizations. The Innovation Lab is a STEM instructional hub which provides an open fabrication space, mixed reality area, machinery workstations, and software training associated with advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurship. Dr. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Instructional Design and Technology, a Master of Science in Higher Education, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education, specializing in Educational Technology.


Kristen Sharpe, Assistant Director of Outreach & Engagement, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Sharpe earned her M.S. from VIMS in January 2022, working with advisor Dr. Deborah Steinberg to investigate the role of seasonal and diel changes in zooplankton community composition in fecal pellet carbon production in the York River estuary, Virginia. Kristen has been at VIMS since 2014, initially working for five years as Marine Education Specialist with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR), leading K-12 and public education programming as well as professional development workshops and opportunities. Throughout the past 8 years, Kristen has worked with educators at VIMS to co-author two chapters in a book highlighting best practices in marine science education, a journal article on climate change-focused K-12 educational curriculum produced by CBNERR, as well as two K-12 lesson plans based on phytoplankton and zooplankton research at VIMS.

Robert Hale, Professor, Dept. of Aquatic Health Sciences, VIMS

Hale’s interests revolve around the interactions of pollutants and the environment, including living and “built” (e.g., homes, industries, wastewater treatment) systems. He has a BS in Biology, BA in Chemistry and a PhD in environmental chemistry. Hale has been a professor at VIMS since 1988. Previously, he was a research chemist at Mobil Corp., examining complex product composition, environmental properties and fate. He focuses on the forensic chemistry of organic pollutants in diverse environmental media (water, sediments, soils, biosolids, tissue, air).

Pollutants do not respect boundaries or expertise. He identifies emerging and legacy contaminants and their sources, fate, persistence, bioavailability, bioaccumulation, and toxicity to ecosystems and humans. His current efforts concentrate on microplastics, plastic additives and wastewater sludge. Collaborative efforts include exploring the interactions of microplastics with infectious disease in fish, and consequences of wastewater treatment on pollutant fate and bioaccessibility of plastic additives.

Optional Field Adventures

Wednesday, June 22nd (1:30-4:00pm ET)

Seine along the shore with Kristen Sharpe, Assistant Director, Outreach & Engagement. We’ll also examine plastic pollution while at the beach and consider the source. Educators will then tour VIMS and meet with Dr. Robert Hale and others as they take us behind-the-scenes into their research labs to share their cutting edge research on microplastic pollution.

Thursday, June 23rd 1:00-3:30pm ET

Take a tour of the Innovation Lab with Mia Joe, Innovation Lab Director. Educators will also get to experience the VR welding simulator and 3D printing!

JASON Regional Conference Partners