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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.

Fralin Research Experience for High Schoolers

The Fralin Research Experience for High Schoolers (FREHS) is an educational program open to aspiring scientists, grades 9 to 12. FREHS prepares students to pursue highly competitive STEM majors, offering hands-on training in college-level research activities. These non-paid internship positions are available year-round.

To learn more or apply for a position, please visit our program homepage.

Undergraduate Education and Outreach Programs at Fralin LSI

Undergraduate Programs

Fralin Research Experience for Undergraduates

Want to expand your expertise and experience what it's like to work in one of our labs? The Fralin Research Experience for Undergraduates (FREU) is an educational program open to aspiring scientists from all academic backgrounds. FREU prepares students to pursue highly competitive STEM careers, offering hands-on training that extends far beyond the traditional classroom learning experience. This program encompasses a wide range of research opportunities including both paid and for-credit positions.

To learn more about FREU or apply for a position, 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.

Graduate Education and Outreach Programs at Fralin LSI

Graduate Programs

Genomics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Graduate Program

The research paradigm exemplified by the Human Genome Project requires a new academic training platform, one that creates team-oriented researchers who may be specialists in one area but who are literate in several other disciplines. For example, researchers with expertise in the mathematical, statistical, or computer sciences also require sufficient knowledge in biology in order to develop appropriate analytical methods and computer tools.

Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary Genomics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Graduate Program program spans traditional departmental boundaries and allows students to study with faculty from many departments and colleges. Tailored individually to students' needs, it is not uncommon that a student advising committee could consist of faculty from several colleges across the university.

For more information please contact Dennie Munson, GBCB Program Liason.


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

Dennie Munson
GBCB Program Liaison
(540) 231-1968

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