BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech is working to shape the future workforce, by sparking kids’ interest in the STEM fields early.
Kids’ Tech University focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, by bringing in speakers from a variety of career and education fields.
The campers, ages 9 to 12, get a chance to hear from the researchers, test out some hands-on activities and take part in labs where they’re able to use the concepts they’ve been taught.
“The parents think, ‘Oh, my 9-year-old can’t understand what computation epidemiology is,’ for instance,” says Shernita Lee, education programs and outreach specialist for the Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech. “But then, their kids really can grasp it and they ask very high-level questions. The researcher is usually like, ‘I didn’t know the kids could ask such hard questions.'”
As part of the camp, graduate and undergraduate students meet with the kids before the sessions. In the nine years since Kids’ Tech University began, many of the original campers have enrolled as students at Virginia Tech as they pursue their future careers in STEM-related fields.
“Because the program is getting ready to start its ninth year this coming spring, some of those kids are here at Virginia Tech enrolled,” she says. “So we’re definitely seeing the impact now that this program has been in existence for so many years.”
Four hundred fifty children will be accepted into the program, which starts in January. There will be one session a month throughout the spring.
For more information and to learn how to sign up, click here.
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