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K-12 STEM Programs

Collage of four photos showing children in STEM activities

Kids’ Tech University 

One primary goal of Kids' Tech University is to create the future workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by sparking kids’ interest in these fields. The program for 9- to 12-year-old children and their parents and meets twice a year.

Kids and their parent(s) participate in a keynote session with a professor from Virginia Tech, who leads them in topics that challenge their thought processes such as:

  • How can animal communication help us understand language?
  • What will your community be like in 25 years?
  • How do tumors grow?
  • Why do snowflakes have six points?
  • Why hang with your friends? Answers from an African Wild Dog.
  • Will computers replace humans?

It is amazing to witness the understanding and communication between the professor and the students.

This program is supported by grant funding and contributions.

Collage of three photos from Sixth Grade Girls Conference

Sixth-grade Girls STEM Conference

This one-day program is for all sixth-grade girls from two school divisions. Held at Southwest Virginia Community College, about 350 girls participate each year, accompanied by their teachers.

The conference introduces sixth-grade girls to careers in STEM through hands-on workshops led by female chemists, engineers, doctors, programmers, health care providers, and women in trades such a welders, construction, and mechanics. The professionals emphasize the link between their education and the important jobs they perform.

Female students from Virginia Tech and Southwest Virginia Community College serve as volunteers and presenters while sharing their stories and encouraging the girls to choose a career path and work toward their goals. This program is held each year in November and is funded through grant funds and sponsorships.

Collage of five photos of high school girls visiting the Virginia Tech campus

STEM Career Exploration

Through funds from a local foundation, the Virginia Tech Southwest Center brings high school junior girls to Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus each year for an overnight visit. 

The program has served 453 girls with 94% currently enrolled in college. This program is in collaboration with many STEM departments including engineering, mathematics, science and technology as well as computer science, the Moss Arts Center, dining services, and the athletic department.