Monday, January 30, 2012

Virginia State University AgDiscovery summer program


a middle or high school student looking for a unique summer internship with an opportunity to live and study on a college campus?

a high school student looking to improve your resume for college?

a teacher looking for opportunities to expand your students’ view of


a parent looking for learning opportunities for your teen?

Look no further... the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers you an opportunity of a lifetime.


AgDiscovery is an outreach program to help teenagers learn about careers in plant and animal science, wildlife management, and agribusiness. The program allows students to live on a college campus and learn about agriculture from university professors, scientists, and administrative profes- sionals who work for the U.S. Government in a variety of fields. They study the life cycles and habits of insects (entomologists); research micro-organ- isms, such as bacteria and viruses (biotechnologists); examine cells and tissues under a microscope to identify diseases (plant pathologists); work to conserve and manage wild animals and their habitats (wildlife biologists); carry out animal health programs (veterinarians); provide education on

the humane care and treatment of animals (veterinarians and animal care inspectors); and manage the business aspects of protecting plants and animals (agribusiness).

This 2- to 4-week summer boarding program for 2012 targets middle and high school students1 who are interested in learning more about plants, animals, and agribusiness. Students chosen to participate in AgDiscov- ery will gain experience through hands-on labs, workshops, and field trips. Students will also participate in character- and team-building activi- ties and a variety of workshops.


June 24–July 8, 2012

Students gain hands-on experience in the disciplines of veterinary science and food safety under the “farm-to-table” theme. Participants also observe small ruminants and on-farm processing techniques. Students reside on campus in a dormitory and learn field and laboratory research techniques from university professors. Field trips and guest speakers provide en- hanced exposure to agricultural production and research. This program is facilitated by the Virginia State University (VSU) School of Agriculture, with collaboration from USDA partners and industry representatives.

Contact: Antonio McLaren, (804) 524-6872,; Paula McCapes, (804) 524-5839,

Founded in 1882 by an act of the State legislature, VSU is the Nation’s first fully State-supported historically black college or university. With a mis- sion emphasizing the integration of academic instruction, research, and public service, VSU welcomes students of any race, religion, or ethnic heritage. VSU also owns and operates a 416-acre farm and agricultural research center. The university embraces diversity and continues to work on internationalizing the campus—particularly through opportunities offered by its Office for International Education to educate tomorrow’s leaders and address global challenges.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University Jan. Event

"How Can Mathematics and Computers Help Us Understand Why Cancer Cells Misbehave?"

An interactive session led by Dr. Suzanne Weekes
Associate Professor and Associate Head of Mathematical Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
Director for the Center for Industrial Mathematics and Statistics at WPI.
Co-director of the MSRI-UP program in Berkeley, California.

Computers have become faster, better, and stronger over the last few decades. Now, put a mathematician together with these supercomputers and things get even better! In this presentation, we will show what mathematicians do outside the classroom and lecture hall to help us understand how cancers develop, interact, evolve and how we can fight them. We can model tumor development by considering simple models of individual tumor cells that live and interact with each other. Each of our model cells obeys prescribed rules for moving around, dividing in two, and dying. Starting with a group of cells, what happens when we push "play" and let them interact? What happens when we change the rules? Is there a big effect on what we see? Can we simulate what's going on in a full size tumor on our laptop? How do we include chemicals and toxins that influence the decisions that the cells make in our model? We'll see some of the many cool things mathematicians can do to help improve our lives.

Dr. Suzanne L. Weekes is an Associate Professor and Associate Head of Mathematical Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). In addition, she is the director for the
Center for Industrial Mathematics and Statistics at WPI and runs the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in Industrial Mathematics and Statistics there. Professor Weekes is also a co-director of the MSRI-UP program in Berkeley, California. Her research interests are in numerical methods for differential equations and industrial mathematics.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pictures from the BGSU KTU program- Jan. 21st

Last weekend Bowling Green State University hosted a Kids' Tech University event! Below are a couple of pictures taken from the event. The kids had a great time attending the Interactive with the Scientist talk with Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher's. Afterword they did hands-on activites using programs on the Virtual Kids' Tech University website!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"There's No New Water" Webinar Training Scheduled for February and March!

By Martin Smith ( and Steven Worker ( Webinars presented in sequence and scaffold an introduction to the curriculum.

1. Friday, February 3, 2012, 1:00-2:30pm (EST)

2. Friday, February 17, 2012, 1:00-2:30pm (EST)

3. Thursday, March 1, 2012, 1:00-2:30pm (EST)

Call in using 866-740-1260 using code 7524783#

And join Adobe Connect at

About the Curriculum

"If there was more education and awareness about water issues, if we started to really think about the natural limits, about where humans and ecosystems have to work together to deal with water, if we were to start to think about efficient use of water, we could reduce the severity of the problems enormously.” - Dr. Peter Gleick, interview with Circle of Blue (July 8, 2008).

The There’s No New Water! curriculum is grounded in the principle that water is a finite natural resource whose quantity and quality must be responsibly preserved, protected, used, and reused. The curriculum is framed around effective educational methods – experiential learning and inquiry-based learning. The curriculum has been reviewed by 4-H National Headquarters, evaluated for learner outcomes, and published by the National 4-H Council.

The curriculum focuses on:

1. Exploration of the natural water cycle.

2. Exploration of human interventions that affect water quality and quantity.

3. Examination of the effects of the urban/rural interface on water quality and quantity.

4. Mapping watersheds.

5. Implementation of service learning projects that address local water conservation issues.

6. Culmination with a set of activities for younger youth and families designed to be led by teens as teacher.

More information is available at

If a teacher would like to see the curriculum they can get in contact with their 4-H representative or they can order their own through National 4-H Council at

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bowling Green State University Kids' Tech University Jan. session

“Patterns are Everywhere! How and Why?”

An interactive session led by Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher

Professor at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and of the Department of Mathematics, Virginia Tech

Did you know that we are surrounded by patterns--everywhere? For example, farmers need to understand weather patterns to plan their harvests. Your parents need to understand traffic patterns to drive you to school safely. Music and dance excite us through patterns of sounds and movement. Some patterns are pretty easy to spot, like the pattern on a seashell, or the pattern on a snowflake. However, other patterns around us aren’t so easy to see, like the patterns on a pine cone, or the patterns of ocean waves. I’ll bet you wouldn’t guess patterns exist in clouds! To discover some of these patterns, we need to be very, very observant. So join me and together we’ll hunt down some patterns in the world around us--and as we investigate how these patterns form and why they’re there, the answers may surprise you!

Dr. Laubenbacher has been a Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech since 2001. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem (NC) and Affiliate Faculty in the Virginia Tech Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. Prior to these appointments Dr. Laubenbacher was Professor of Mathematics at New Mexico State University. He has served as Visiting Faculty at Los Alamos National Laboratories, was a member of the Mathematical Science Research Institute at Berkeley in 1998, and was a Visiting Associate Professor at Cornell University in 1990 and 1993. Current interests in Dr. Laubenbacher’s research group include the development of mathematical algorithms and their application to problems in systems biology, in particular the modeling and simulation of molecular networks. An application area of particular interest is cancer systems biology, especially the role of iron metabolism in breast cancer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Carpool request


If anyone is interested in carpooling with another KTU family from the-

**Scottsville, VA (such as Palmyra or even Charlottesville) area


**Mclean, VA

Please email Kristy Collins at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

SEEDS­ Blacksburg Nature Center Summer Camps and News!

Happy 2012!

Watch the SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center facebook page (no login necessary) for updates about the SEEDS camp 2012 season.

This will be Year 17 for SEEDS Summer Field Camps! Time flies when you're having fun.

Dates will be announced in February for camps for ages 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, and maybe a camping trip for 13-16.

In the meantime, visit us at the nature center. In 2011 we topped over 2,000 visitors which we think is exciting and fantastic for Blacksburg.

Coming this month...Native Reptile exhibits, Native Amphibians program. Explorer's self-guided activity packs.

SEEDS­ Blacksburg Nature Center
Rain or shine...Nature discovery right in town.
It's a museum and more for children and the young at heart!

Operated by SEEDS ­ Seek Education, Explore, DiScover
With Contributing Partners:
Town of Blacksburg Dept. of Parks and Recreation
VT Dept. of Biological Sciences Outreach Program

Located at the Historic Blacksburg Price House, 107 E. Wharton St.

Mail to:

PO Box 824
Blacksburg VA 24063-0824

Click here for their website

Founded in 1995, SEEDS has a mission to build community by teaching and take children and families out into to the wonderful environment around us so that they learn about it first-hand.

SEEDS is a 501(c)(3) charitable not-for-profit youth education organization. Your Donations are tax deductible. There FIN # is 541782139

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Northrop Grumman Foundation ECO Classroom

The Northrop Grumman Foundation will be taking 16 secondary science teachers to Costa Rica this summer to the La Selva Biological Reserve. They hope to train teachers in data
collection (camera traps, carbon sequestration in forests, satellite image analysis, land use issues, etc.) to heighten their awareness of climate change science. It will be an all expenses paid, two week, intensive field experience starting July 8, 2012.
Interested teachers must form a team of 4 and all members must submit a joint application to participate by March 15, 2012. Teams may be comprised of 4 teachers from the same district or a neighboring district. Teams may be of both middle school and high school teachers but must have at least one high school teacher. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance in early April 2012.

Pass on this information to any teacher you think would be interested!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Youth can join Junior Master Gardener program

Montgomery County 4-H and Hahn Horticulture Garden invites youth in grades three to five to join our Junior Master Gardener program. The program is a fun youth gardening program modeled after the highly successful adult Master Gardener program. It offers horticultural andenvironmental science education through creative gardening activities.

The program includes 26 classes during the spring and fall. There are no summer classes. Spring dates are every Wednesday, Feb. 22-May 30, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Hahn Horticulture Garden and Pavilion. The cost is $50 per semester.

Call 540-382-5790 to make sure space is available before you register!

For more information and registration information, download a program brochure at or contact Joe Hunnings at 540-231-9409.

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

Monday, January 9, 2012

VT KTU Carpool notice

Hi everyone,

We offer assistance in notifying parents of carpooling options. If anyone from Mclean, VA is interested in carpooling with another family to the VT Kids' Tech University program please contact Dr. Kristy Collins at .


Friday, January 6, 2012

Dr. Edith Widder's New Crusade

The marine biologist Edith Widder has spent a career studying bioluminescent sea creatures. Now she is using the phenomenon to fight pollution.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Virginia Tech unveils HokieSpeed, a powerful new supercomputer for the masses

Check out the article below which was published in the Dec. 19th Virginia Tech News - Dr. Wu Feng is featured. Dr. Feng will be the Interactive Session scientist at the Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University program on Feb. 25th!! See here for the direct link to the Feb. 25th program and and his abstract.

"Virginia Tech unveils HokieSpeed, a powerful new supercomputer for the masses"

Wu Feng tests HokieSpeed

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 5, 2012 – Virginia Tech crashed the supercomputing arena in 2003 with System X, a machine that placed the university among the world’s top computational research facilities. Now comes HokieSpeed, a new supercomputer that is up to 22 times faster and yet a quarter of the size of X, boasting a single-precision peak of 455 teraflops, or 455 trillion operations per second, and a double-precision peak of 240 teraflops, or 240 trillion operations per second.

That’s enough computational capability to place HokieSpeed at No. 96 on the most recent Top500 List, the industry-standard ranking of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers. More intriguing is HokieSpeed’s energy efficiency, which ranks it at No. 11 in the world on the November 2011 Green500 List, a compilation of supercomputers that excel at using less energy to do more. On the Green500 List, HokieSpeed is the highest-ranked commodity supercomputer in the United States.

Located at Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center, HokieSpeed – the word “Hokie” originating from an old Virginia Tech sports cheer – contains 209 nodes, or separate computers, connected to one another in and across large metal racks, each roughly 6.5 feet tall, to create a single supercomputer that occupies half a row of racks in a vast university computer machine room. X took three times the rack space.

Each HokieSpeed node contains two 2.40-gigahertz Intel Xeon E5645 6-core central processing units, commonly called CPUs, and two NVIDIA M2050/C2050 448-core graphics processor units, or GPUs, which reside on a Supermicro 2026GT0TRF motherboard. That gives HokieSpeed more than 2,500 central processing unit cores and more than 185,000 graphics processor unit cores to compute with.

“HokieSpeed is a versatile heterogeneous supercomputing instrument, where each compute node consists of energy-efficient central-processing units and high-end graphics-processing units,” said Wu Feng, associate professor with the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s computer science and electrical and computer engineering departments.

“This instrument will empower faculty, students, and staff across disciplines to tackle problems previously viewed as intractable or that required heroic efforts and significant domain-specific expertise to solve.”

A look at Wu Feng showing how HokieSpeed operates can be seen here.

Still in the final stages of acceptance testing, Feng envisions HokieSpeed as Virginia Tech’s next war horse in research. As researchers from around the world have used X to crack riddles of the blood system and further DNA research, Feng said HokieSpeed will be a next-generation research tool for engineers, scientists, and others.

HokieSpeed was built for $1.4 million, a small fraction -- one-tenth of a percent of the cost -- of the Top500’s current No. 1 supercomputer, the K Computer from Japan. The majority of funding for HokieSpeed came from a $2 million National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant. With federal and state budget crunches here to stay, Feng said HokieSpeed carries another plus: It can attract more international research projects to Virginia Tech, adding more to the College of Engineering’s income.

Among the vendors working with Feng on HokieSpeed are Seneca Data Inc. and Super Micro Computer Inc., who were the driving force behind the project, as well as NVIDIA Corp., for their technical support. Feng has worked with NVIDIA before, with the Silicon Valley-based technology firm naming Virginia Tech as a research center and the NVIDIA Foundation’s first worldwide research award for computing the cure for cancer being awarded to Feng.

In addition to HokieSpeed’s compute nodes, a visualization wall – eight 46-inch, 3-D Samsung high-definition flat-screen televisions – will provide a 14-foot wide by 4-foot tall display for end-users to be immersed in their data. Still under construction, the visualization wall will be hooked-up to special visualization nodes built into HokieSpeed and allow researchers to perform in-situ visualization.

This way, researchers can see in real-time if their computational experiment is turning out as expected, or if corrections or on-the-fly adjustments must be made, said Feng. Previously, weeks could pass by before all the data from a computational experiment was generated and then rendered as a video for viewing and analysis.

“What we want to do with HokieSpeed is to enable scientists to routinely do ‘what-if’ scenarios that they would not have been able to do or think of doing in the past,” Feng said. “It will facilitate the discovery process or ‘accelerate the time to discovery.’”

For now, high-tech universities, government research labs, and major corporations use supercomputers on a regular basis, major organizations from the MIT to the Pentagon to Hollywood movie companies. As supercomputers such as HokieSpeed grow in brain size and diversity, and yet shrink in space, they will become more readily available to the public at large, said Feng. That is his ultimate goal.

“Look at what Apple has done with the smartphone and iPad. They have taken general-purpose computing and commoditized it and made it easy to use for the masses,” said Feng. “The next frontier is to take high-performance computing, in particular supercomputers such as HokieSpeed, and personalize it for the masses.”

Such access to supercomputers could help small businesses that do not have multi-billion-dollar budgets for cyberinfrastructure, to better design their products or the process in which their products are produced on the assembly line in the factory. Scientists at smaller universities could use supercomputers for their own research efforts.

“The possibilities are endless as we invent the future at Virginia Tech,” said Feng.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 6,000 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

Steven Mackay
(540) 231-4787

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Registration for Kids' Tech University is open!


Registration for the Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University and the Bowling Green State University Kids' Tech University program is still open! Both programs are nearing full capacity, so you may want to sign up today!