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Education & Outreach

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The Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech incorporates initiatives that provide learning opportunities for students of all ages in environmental and life science research areas such as bioinformatics and computational biology. We recognize that the scientists and researchers of tomorrow are the students currently enrolled in elementary, middle, and high schools.

The Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech also extends its research knowledgebase to high school and community college students in Virginia and across the nation through the sharing of resources, interactive curriculum, intimate teacher training sessions, and the Biotech-in-a-Box program, which reaches more than 10,000 students across Virginia each year.

KTU students during lecture

K-12 Programs

Kids’ Tech University

Kids’ Tech University (KTU) is a program for children, ages 9-12, and their parents with the primary purpose of creating the future workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM). Kids and parents participate in interactive sessions with scientists, perform hands-on activities on Virginia Tech's campus, and use online materials to build on their new knowledge. 

To register and get more information, visit our KTU homepage.

Kids’ Tech University: Graduate School

KTU: GS is designed to spark high schoolers' interest in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. This day-long learning experience presents exciting scientific discoveries in language students can understand and gives them access to resources and expertise that can only be found at Virginia Tech.

To register and get more information, visit our KTU: GS homepage.

Class Tours

We welcome class groups to tour of the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech and/or participate in a hands-on activity centered around DNA. 

To book your tour, please contact Kristy Collins.

Virus Tracker in a Box

Virus Tracker was developed for use in middle and high school classrooms. In the Virus Tracker game, players become part of a virtual virus-spreading exercise in which the bar-coded wristbands they are given represent their infection with a particular virus. Each free game kit includes the software (teacher must have access to the internet during the game), scanners, barcodes, instruction manual, and suggested curriculum materials. 

To reserve your game today, visit the Virus Tracker in a Box homepage.


Undergraduate Education and Outreach Programs at Fralin LSI

Undergraduate Programs

Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship program is a competitive award program that is open to all Virginia Tech undergraduates with a goal of increasing diversity in research. Fifteen (15) fellowships of $1,000 will be awarded annually to individual students demonstrating academic capability and a strong interest in undergraduate research, to enable them to conduct research with a Virginia Tech faculty mentor over the course of one academic year.

This program is open to students from any discipline, who have already identified a faculty research mentor. Students from underrepresented groups (including, but not limited to, ethnic minorities, first generation college students, students from low income areas, students with disabilities, LGBTQ, etc.) are strongly encouraged to apply.

To learn more about FURF, please visit the program homepage.

Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Fralin SURF program is a 10-week training program designed to give motivated Virginia Tech undergraduates the opportunity to engage in full-time (~40 hrs/week) research and related professional development activities that mirror graduate training.

The goal is to offer students experiences that will help them determine if they want to pursue a career in life sciences research while they develop skills for graduate school. The program includes weekly research and professional development seminars, periodic social events, and a final symposium during which students will present their research.

To learn more about SURF, please visit the program homepage.


Computationally-Driven Experimental Biology Summer Program

Students will train with top-tier technology experts as they get the rare opportunity to receive both biology and computer science training. During the 10-week summer program, undergraduate students will be involved in multiple aspects of a single research project, bringing them exposure to real-life team science. Students will achieve a higher-level understanding of how computer science, mathematics, and experimental cell biology all play an integral role in studying cellular processes and discovery of new data.

To learn more about the summer program, please visit the program homepage.

Education and Outreach Overview (Fralin LSI)
Middle school students participating in "hands-on" activities at a Kids' Tech University event (photo: Ivan Morozov, Fralin LSI, Virginia Tech)


Kristy Collins, Ph.D.
Kids' Tech University and Undergraduate Programs
(540) 231-1389

Kristi DeCourcy, Ph.D.
Director, Biotech-in-a-Box
(540) 231-7959