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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.

STEM Summer Camp 

In collaboration with 4-H, the STEM Summer Camp is a 1-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.

Class Tours

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.

To book your tour, please contact Kristy Collins.


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.

F.I.R.E. Starters Program 

F.I.R.E. (Forging Interest in Research and Engagement) Starters is a new undergraduate research program that aims to increase access to and training for research opportunities for underrepresented minority 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. In this inaugural year, students will be selected via an application process and will each receive a stipend of $4,000 for full participation in the program ($2,000 iper semester). 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 $4,000 of additional funding

To learn more about F.I.R.E. Starters, 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.
Director, Education and Outreach
(540) 231-1389