BLACKSBURG, Va., November 4, 2013 – Technology club students at Blacksburg Middle School are set to have a blast with the VT-Rocketry, Rackspace® Hosting (a local technology firm) and the New River Valley Rocketry club. Virginia Bioinformatics Institute’s own Kevin Shinpaugh, will discuss careers in the aerospace industry with the student technology club.  Then volunteers from Rackspace, VT-Rocketry and NRV Rocketry will work with the kids on several rocket related projects, launches, mathematic measurements and calculations. The technology club's activities will take place at Blacksburg Middle School on November 6 and 7 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

New River Valley Rocketry allows children to experience hands-on science.

The event, sponsored by Rackspace, aims to engage the students of the Blacksburg Technology Student Association club in a fun, workshop-style activity that will hopefully inspire and enlighten them to career paths in science, math, engineering, and or technology – as well as give them a rocket of their own to take home.

“Model rockets are a fun and exciting way to get students interested in science and technology at an early age," said Kevin Shinpaugh, Director of Information Technology and Computing Services at the institute. “Middle school students are at a crucial stage for keeping them interested in mathematics and science. Building rockets gives them a sense of accomplishment and ownership and will hopefully inspire them to pursue a career in STEM fields.”

On Wednesday, November 6, students will be taught about rocketry design and theory and then will get help building their own rockets. At the following session on Thursday, November 7, students will launch their rockets, taking altitude measurements and performing trig calculations to determine their rockets apogee (maximum altitude).

“Rackspace and our 'Rack Gives Back' initiative are invested in exposing the children in the New River Valley area to many different forms of engineering and technology.  We want to show kids, in a hands-on way, that really fun technology and engineering career paths are discovered by first exploring and discovering what you love to do -- even before entering college,” said Thomas Weeks of Rackspace and founder of NRV Rocketry. “This is why we back STEM outreach events like this, volunteer in VBI's Kids Tech University program, as well as get involved in community run programs such as 'Let's Code Blacksburg.'

About Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

Established in 2000, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute is one of seven acclaimed research institutes designed to support Virginia Tech’s research mission. Our emphasis on informatics of complex interacting systems scales from the microbiome to the entire globe, helping to solve challenges posed to human health, security, and sustainability. Headquartered on the Blacksburg, Virginia campus, the institute occupies 154,600 square feet in research facilities, including state-of-the-art core laboratory and high performance computing facilities, as well as research offices in the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Virginia.


Tiffany Trent

November 04, 2013