Blacksburg, Va., June 7, 2013 -- The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Summer Workshops aim to expose students to activities and experiences in the biomedical sciences and engineering. Students will participate in activities that provide hands-on experience working with basic concepts and features of these fields in hopes of instilling an interest and possible career aspirations in these fields. The three-hour workshops are intended to provide activities in a college environment as well as exposure to professionals who have made careers in these areas of study.

AKA sister and VBI graduate student, Shernita Lee, demonstrating DNA extraction.















Evidence suggests that the next wave of jobs in the American economy will be in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This summer program intends to cultivate an interest and greater understanding of STEM as students continue their educational pursuits. Dr. Kristy Collins, Program Manager for Education and Outreach, at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, teamed with the Tau Mu Omega Chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to facilitate DNA extraction. Used to being the only scientific instructor in the past, Collins said, "It was nice to discover that members of the sorority had experience with gels; we were able to give more one-on-one attention to the children. The event was a great success."

About Alpha Kappa Alpha: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is an international service organization that was founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. It is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American, college-educated women. Since receiving its charter in 1992, the Tau Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha is committed to the development of America’s youth and committed to service in the New River Valley. In addition to engaging in mentoring, education, health and wellness, and economic development programs, members feel it is important to aid in developing talented young Americans in their pursuit of higher education.

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.

June 07, 2013