Conference Session: “Work Together to Design Solutions – TODAY’S Computer Science and Robotics”

Posted in: Kickoff Conference

Track: Computer Science & Tech 

WorkTogether2Learn how the VEX IQ and VEX robotics system can help inspire the next generation of programmers K – University. 



  • Shawn Hardina, founder, East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC 
  • Cindy Nixon, Director of Engagement for Project Lead the Way in Arizona and New Mexico 



Shawn Hardina founded the East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC, a STEM education, consulting, and coaching organization in 2014 and merged with STAX3D in January 2016. His career spans more than 25 years in education involving curriculum design, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Pathway creation, co-operative learning, high school and college science and robotics, and instructional coaching. STAX Education specializes in “building collaborative communities dedicated to transforming STEM education by helping schools, districts, and youth organizations in creating customized and sustainable STEM experiences that will Engage, Educate, and Empower people of all ages.”

Prior to founding the East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC, and merging with STAX Education. Shawn oversaw the creation and implementation of the Campo Verde High School Biomedical Sciences Pathway in Gilbert, Arizona, the creation and sustainability of the FIRST Robotics Competition Program in Kingman, Arizona, the creation and implementation of a Math Science Partnership Grant in Kingman, Arizona. In addition to the creation of unique and impactful STEM Pathways Shawn has been a High School Science, Biomedical Sciences, and Robotics teacher, a Kagan Cooperative learning trainer, a Master Teacher for Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences, and a K-6 Science/Literacy Instructional Coach.

Shawn holds a BS in Physiology from the Universityof California at Davis, currently holds a teacher certificate in Chemistry, General Science, and Career and Technical Education and received National Board Certification for Chemistry in 2002.


Cindy NixonCindy Nixon is the Director of School Engagement for Project Lead The Way in Arizona and New Mexico. Project Lead The Way is a nonproifit organization that provides a transformative learning STEM experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. We create an engaging environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. Through our pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate.

Cindy was a Career and Technical Education Director in Arizona for five years, which spiked her interest in Project Lead The Way. She had the Project Lead The Way Engineering Program. Through her experience, she saw the impact of the program on her students, teachers, and community. Cindy has also worked as a middle-school and high school counselor. She has a BA in Social Work/Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education/Counseling.




Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!