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500 Attended Alexandria’s ASTEAM Carnival Hosted by Northern Virginia Urban League

Student is captivated by a robotics exercise. Photo by Tristian Johnson, Trisography Flix & Art Designs.


Alexandria, VA – The Northern Virginia Urban League, in collaboration with instructional partner Smart Learning Solutions, held its Annual ASTEAM Family Carnival on Saturday, September 22nd at the Charles Houston Recreation Center.  Nearly 500 children, families, and community members and partners were in attendance for the impactful event. Verizon served as the premier sponsor.

Students team up to work on a LEGO Engineering project. Photo by Tristian Johnson, Trisography Flix & Art Designs.

The free community carnival, with hands-on learning activities for children and families, featured a fun-filled afternoon of ASTEAM (Aviation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).  The goal of the event was to introduce and broaden the awareness of ASTEAM for academic achievement, critical thinking, and career exploration purposes.

(from left to right:) The Honorable Allison Silberberg, Mayor of Alexandria; Tracey Walker, NVUL Board Chair; Douglas E. Brammer, Verizon Manager of State Government Affairs; and Jamil Smart, Smart Learning Solutions President with $10,000 check. Photo by Tristian Johnson, Trisography Flix & Art Designs.

Organizations that provided instructors for the ASTEAM component of the carnival included: Artesian Enterprises, Athletes Innovate, Cyber Green Group, DEILAB, Destiny Aviation Services, Harris Engineering Group, Katrina Lynn Educational Services, Patriots Technology Training Center, Propel Productions, Race Tech, Ramalingam Productions, Vertigo Entertainment, and Youth Technology Network.

Student explores a crime scene with instructor’s assistance. Photo by Tristian Johnson, Trisography Flix & Art Designs.

In addition to the support of premier sponsor Verizon, The Arlington (VA) Chapter of the Links, Inc. and RSM US LLP served as contributing sponsors.  Frito Lay and Pepsi served as refreshment sponsors.

NVUL Board Chair, Tracey Walker expressed “The ASTEAM Carnival provides an on-ramp for disadvantaged children to become excited about new careers through hands-on play and interaction.  We are delighted to have the support of our sponsors, the Mayor, and City Council to bring this important activity combining the stem fields and fun to Northern Virginia – from Alexandria to Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties.”

Special guests in attendance included: Alexandria’s Mayor Allison Silberberg, Vice Mayor Justin Wilson, and NAACP President Christopher Harris.

For additional information about the Northern Virginia Urban League, visit or call 703-836-2858

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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