Virginia Tech® home

Education & Outreach

Members of the AKA sorority present heart-healthy tips as part of Kids' Tech University.

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.

Student participant at Kids' Tech University at one of the activity stations.

K-12 Programs

For almost 30 years, the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech has supported biotechnology education in Virginia middle and high school, as well as community college classrooms through the Biotech in a Box Outreach Program. 

The outreach loan program currently has five kits available for schools to borrow: DNA Biotechnology,  Protein Electrophoresis, Column Chromatography, Studying Slime Mold Behavior (Caging the Blob), and Introduction to Immunology. The kits contain all equipment, supplies and solutions needed for the experiments. To learn more, visit the Biotech in a Box page.

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 learn more, visit the KTU page.

Kids' Tech University Graduate School is designed to spark kids, ages 13-16, interests 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 learn more, visit the KTU Graduate School page. 

El objetivo principal de Spanish Kids' Tech University es despertar el interés de los estudiantes en los campos de rápido crecimiento de la ciencia, la tecnología, la ingeniería y las matemáticas (STEM). Este programa se presenta y comunica en español y se llevará a cabo el 2 de diciembre de 2023. 

In collaboration with 4-H, the STEM Summer Camp is a one-week long program designed for kids ages 9-12. Camp focuses on different STEM topics including geology (including jewelry making), microscopy, horticulture, coding, and engineering. To learn more, visit the STEM Camp page.

We are interested in forming parternships with homeschooling groups and co-ops. We also host a Homeschooling STEM Club with future club meeting dates including: June 28, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 18, Nov. 22 and Dec. 20 from 10 am-noon each day. STEM topics each day are forthcoming. To learn more, visit the Homeschooling STEM Club page

We welcome class groups to tour Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech and/or participate in a hands-on activity centered around DNA. Currently hands-on activities are being offerend on Friday's during the school year and all week during the summer.

If you are interested in scheduling a tour of Steger Hall, participating in a hands on activity on Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus or having us come out to your group contact, Kristy Collins at

Three student volunteers at the Kids' Tech University.

Undergraduate Programs

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 $1,350 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.

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.

F.I.R.E. (Forging Interest in Research and Engagement) Starters is an undergraduate research program that aims to increase access to and training for research opportunities for underrepresented minority undergraduate students. Students will participate in cohort learning that introduces them to transdisciplinary research methods and prepares them to pursue further research opportunities in the future.

Students will be selected via an application process and will each receive a stipend of $3,200 for full participation in the program ($1,600 in Fall semester, $1,600 in Spring semester). The selected students will undertake an independent research project the following summer with support from a research mentor, in which further work may be supported by up to $3,200 of additional funding.

To learn more about F.I.R.E. Starters, please visit the program homepage.

Funded by the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, the First-Year Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship (First-Year FURF) Program provides first-year students—who are new to research—with authentic research experiences in their chosen discipline, under the direct mentorship of a faculty member. The aim of this program is to provide early access to undergraduate research, particularly to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity, such as those who identify as first generation or low income. The program is open to all students and areas of research.

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