BLACKSBURG, Va., September 3, 2012 – The award-winning educational program Kids’ Tech University celebrated a new milestone in achievement recently for its first corporate sponsorship from Rackspace, as part of the Rack Gives Back program.  Designed for children ages 9-12, KTU excites children about science while providing them with valuable experience in a university setting.

Through its Rack Gives Back program, Rackspace identifies local avenues for giving or volunteerism. One of their preferred areas is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Robert McAden, business operations manager for Blacksburg’s Rackspace office, had enrolled his daughter in a KTU course and saw the great benefit and need to continue the program.

“As an employer, Rackspace is reliant on a STEM-educated workforce and strives to support programs that reach kids and foster an early interest in technology. We participated in the hands-on activities at KTU last year and were able to observe the value of the program first-hand. That is why we decided to help fund this valuable program,” said McAden.

Rackspace booth
Children engaging at the Rackspace booth.

The corporate sponsorship is a great boon to KTU, since registration fees generally don’t cover the cost of registration.  KTU strives to provide scholarships for students in need of assistance and build future economic stability through nurturing the upcoming workforce. 

In addition to the sponsorship from Rackspace, KTU has also formed an alliance with the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council  to continue to spread the word about its exciting educational opportunities for students.

"For the program to be sustainable in the long run all the stakeholders will need to contribute. One of these is the business community, since KTU is fundamentally a program to build the future workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our partnerships with Rackspace and RBTC represent a great step in engaging regional businesses,” said Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher, director of education and outreach at VBI.

Executive director Derick Maggard noted: “The Partnership between KTU and RBTC is important because it allows our local Technology Communities to showcase real world applications of STEM studies, inspire kids to pursue a career in a STEM related industry and allows for a fun education related experience outside the classroom. By partnering with KTU, the RBTC hopes to continue its mission of community outreach, raising the profile of our regional technology assets and most importantly, inspiring our young people to become Scientists, Techies, Engineers, Mathematicians, and Entrepreneurs.”

Kids’ Tech University has just updated its website at http://kidstechuniversity.vbi.vt.edu with the program schedule for 2013, which includes interactive sessions with topics ranging from fossilization processes to DNA to ships controlled by cell phones to how math influences diabetes research. KTU registration will open on the above website at 6 pm on December 4, 2012.

About Kids’ Tech University
Kids' Tech University (KTU) is a pioneering educational initiative designed to excite children about science and provide them with a real university experience. Kids' Tech University was spearheaded by VBI in collaboration with the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program. The goal is to expose K-12 students early to cutting-edge research in science, math, engineering, and technology to hopefully encourage them to pursue science careers. The Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University activities includes a spring event series for 9-12 year olds, a high school program, a VBI interactive booth at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, and hosting K-12 visits at VBI.


About Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental, and wider communities.

 

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Contact:

Tiffany Trent
540-231-6822
ttrent@vbi.vt.edu

September 17, 2012