Monday, February 27, 2012

"Our Green Future" High School Internship Program

Program dates: July 9-13, 2012

Application Deadline: May 4, 2012

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) is offering a high school summer internship to expose students to the exciting fields of research in biology, plant pathology, the environment, climate and bioinformatics. This week-long program consists of several research activity labs, research-related tours, and a discussion/lecture series.

High school students interested in math and science, and are able to provide their own, reliable transportation to VBI each morning, are eligible for participation in the program. The main objective of this high school internship is to show students the fun and excitement of scientific research. Students will have the opportunity to explore the world of genomics and the environment with world-renowned research scientists in professional labs.

Dedicated work is key for success in any career, especially one in bioinformatics research. The internship experience will strengthen the principle of dedicated work through intensive laboratory research and journal keeping exercises given throughout the week. A highly motivated attitude is encouraged throughout the program! | 2012 promotional flyer

2009 Students

Our Green Future is funded by NSF Award Number IOS-0922747

Friday, February 24, 2012

Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University Feb. Session

“Will Computers Replace Humans?”

An interactive session led by Dr. Wuchun Feng

Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Director of the Synergy Laboratory and site co-director of the NSF Center for High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing.
Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and Translational Science Institute at Wake Forest University and at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech

.... As of June 2011, the fastest computer in the world performs approximately
10,000,000,000,000,000 mathematical calculations per second. How many such calculations can you perform per second?

... In February 2011 on the show Jeopardy!, IBM's Watson supercomputer trounced its human counterparts: Ken Jennings, the record holder for the longest championship streak on Jeopardy!, and Brad Rutter, the biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!

... At present, unofficial reports indicate that Google uses more than 1,000,000 computers to deliver search results for its Google search engine. That is, Google uses computers to perform search rather than humans.

... While K-Mart was the "king" of discount department stores back in the 1980s, Walmart has become the undisputed king of discount department stores, and K-Mart filed for bankruptcy in 2002. What happened? Walmart invested heavily in computer technology to manage its supply chain while K-Mart did not. In short, Walmart replaced humans with computers to manage its supply chain.

Does the above forecast a future where computers will replace humans? Why? Why not?

Please join me on a thought-provoking journey to answer the question: "Will computers replace humans?" Expect a wild ride where we will likely produce even more questions than answers :-).

Dr. Feng has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech since 2006 as well as director of the Synergy Laboratory and site co-director of the NSF Center for High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and Translational Science Institute at Wake Forest University and at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech. Previous professional stints include Los Alamos National Laboratory (1998-2006), The Ohio State University (2000-2003), Purdue University (1998-2000), University of Illinois (1990-1996), IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (1990), and several start-up companies, including Vosaic (1997), EnergyWare (2008-2010), and Abokia (2010-now).

Current research interests in Dr. Feng's Synergy Lab encompass large-scale and high-performance computing with applications to science, engineering, and health. Examples of such projects include "Computing the Cure for Cancer," video cards for supercomputing, mpiBLAST, Supercomputing in Small Spaces, and The Green500.

Dr. Feng received a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering and in Music (Honors) in 1988 and an M.S. in Computer Engineering from Penn State University in 1990. He earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- "Viral Outbreaks! and Piecing Together DNA"

by Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech

Ever wonder how scientists and officials predict the spread of a virus (like H1N1), information on a social network, traffic flow or assess a natural disaster? At our booth you will be virtually spreading a virus around KTU and piecing together DNA fragments to find hidden clues and unlock genomic secrets!

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit - Discovering How Buildings Respond to Earthquakes

Students will discover concepts related to how buildings respond during earthquakes in this hands on activity. Students are encouraged to build a multistory scale building using K’nex ‘The world’s most creative construction and building toys’. The structures will then be placed on a shake table that will reproduce the ground motion that occurred during the magnitude 6.7 earthquake at Northridge California in 1994. Through this hands-on demonstration students will discover how the stiffness and mass of a structure affect its earthquake response, investigate natural frequency of a structure, and learn concepts related to designing structures to survive earthquakes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- CanSat at VT organization and the RASC-AL senior design team joint booth!

The CanSat at VT organization and the RASC-AL senior design team are hosting a joint exhibit for KTU on February 25th. CanSat is a competition for students to build a miniature satellite roughly the size of two soda cans that gets launched into the lower atmosphere and collects and transmits atmospheric and telemetry data on its way down to the ground. The RASC-AL group works on a paper study for NASA for a potential manned mission to Mars.

We will be hosting 3 distinct activities at our booth. For the first activity kids will build paper rockets using paper, a straw and a index card. They'll learn very basic things about control and fins. For the second activity the kids will design a duck call straw. And lastly, the kids will see some "cool" electronics gadgets.

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit - Catapults and Newton’s Three Laws of Motion

Exhibit by Sally Farrell

Craig County 4-H

Catapults and Newton’s Three Laws of Motion

We will exhibit three different kinds of catapults (wooden, Lego NXT, and home-made) and see how these catapults demonstrate Newton’s three Laws of Motion:

1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it:

Ø The projectile rests in the catapult until launched and then travels until it is acted on by gravity and lands on the ground.

2. The acceleration of an object depends directly upon the force acting upon the object, and inversely upon the mass of the object. As the force acting upon an object is increased, the acceleration of the object is increased. As the mass of an object is increased, the acceleration of the object is decreased.

Ø The catapult exerts a given amount of force depending on how far the bucket is cranked back. The mass depends on the payload.

3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Ø The catapult will experience exactly the same force as the thrown object but in the opposite direction. It will begin to move backwards.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit - Presented by Alpha Pi Mu at Virginia Tech, an Industrial Engineering Honors Society

Industrial Engineering deals with four main areas: Ergonomics, Operations Research, Management Systems, and Manufacturing. For our activity, we will focus on the optimization of building a tower that will focus on three performance measures: budget, height, and holding a weight. During the activity the kids, will learn the tradeoffs for purchasing items, which combinations of supplies work the best together (design of experiments), and more importantly be learning about process improvement, which is the focus of many Industrial Engineering jobs.

Presented by Alpha Pi Mu at Virginia Tech, an Industrial Engineering Honors Society.

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit - VT Rocketry and SPACE (Student Participating in Advancing spaCe Education)

Come build a paper rocket with VT Rocketry! Using a sheet of paper, an index card, a pencil and an air launcher, build a pencil sized paper rocket and see how far you can fly! Learn about how VT Rocketry is participating in the annual NASA USLI competition and come take a look at our prototype rocket! It's four feet tall and flies to over 1000 feet!

You will also learn about buoyancy and the ideal gas law using Cartesian Divers! Using a straw, some paper clips, a rubber band and a 2-Liter bottle, watch as the "diver" that you make "magically" sinks as you squeeze the bottle filled with water but then rises when you release it! It's not actually magic but it sure does look like it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- VT Ware Lab

The education of engineering students at Virginia Tech is a dynamic process adapting to meet the demands of the industry. Engineering students participate in basic problem solving and hands-on experiences representing the essence of the engineering profession. New engineering tools, a deeper understanding of the responsibilities of engineers to society and the environment, and an appreciation for the diverse and global nature of the workplace are continually incorporated into the engineering curriculum (Gilbert, 2003).

For incoming freshman in 2006, a Tablet PC computing initiative mandated the purchase of a Tablet rather than the previously required laptop. The initiative is supported by an alliance between Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corporation, and Microsoft Corporation offering students higher levels of hardware and software purchasing power and support. A current technology, the Tablet PC incorporates the portability of the laptop with the flexibility of writing. In conventional notebook mode, the Tablet PC offers a keyboard for typing. When the screen is rotated it transforms into a tablet, and using a stylus students can make handwritten notes and drawings.

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit - Hosted by the Virginia Tech Assistive Technologies department

The Virginia Tech Assistive Technologies (VT-AT) department is proud to be demonstrating the benefits of assistive technologies (AT) for enhancing, maintaining, or increasing a person's abilities by using computers for learning, teaching, working, recreation, and maintaining independence. With a focus on tools for people with disabilities, the participants will experience:

*Computers and special-purpose video magnifiers for visual magnification, color filtering, and contrast enhancements for people with visual difficulties,

*Assistive reading and literacy tools that use text-to-speech capabilities for people with learning, visual, or print disabilities,

*Voice recognition, touch screen, tablet pc, and/or adaptive input devices to assist people with difficulties in writing due to physical or learning disabilities, and

*Note taking aides and organizational tools for anyone in the classroom.

Besides looking at specialized AT applications, the AT department will be demonstrating existing accessibility options already built-in to computer operating systems and available to everyone.

Virginia Assistive Technologies System, Southwest Region (SWVATS) Southwest VATS is one of three regional sites of the Virginia Assistive Technology System, a statewide project committed to improving the quality of life for all Virginians by increasing awareness and accessibility of assistive technology (AT). Established in 1990, VATS is administered by the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS). Our Southwest Region encompasses 14,000 square miles in 29 counties and 13 independent cities.

We will help staff the Assistive Technologies display and showcase some of our devices and software with a similar focus as our campus AT partners. Aside from the explanation of what SWVATS is, I'm specifically going to demonstrate "serious note taking and fun diversions" available on the Livescribe Echo smartpen.

Justin Graves, Virginia Tech Graduate Student

Undergraduate student Justin Graves, recipient of the 2011 Undergraduate Diversity Research Grant, will also display information that he has gathered using Apple's iPad2, and how kids can use this device not only for fun & leisure, but for academics & productivity as well. About a dozen apps will be demonstrated to anyone interested, with a focus on assistive technologies offered similar to those of SWVATS.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit-Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT)

HEVT is a nationally recognized student design team in Virginia Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Virginia Tech is one of 15 North American engineering schools participating in EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), the three-year competition offers students hands-on experience in an effort to educate the next generation of automotive engineers.

EcoCAR 2 challenges university students to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, while still maintaining performance, safety and consumer acceptability. GM will donate the 2013 Malibu at the end of the first year of competition. In June 2011, HEVT placed first in another U.S. DOE and GM sponsored competition, EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. Under the supervision of Virginia Tech mechanical engineering professor Doug Nelson, HEVT produced an extended-range electric vehicle with an 82 miles-per-gallon rating.

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- Wired for Wind: An Overview of the 2011 National 4-H Science Experiment

Wired for Wind: An Overview of the 2011 National 4-H Science Experiment

Wind power is a clean, widely available, low cost, and renewable energy source. As the search for alternative energy sources continues to gain momentum, the development of wind power technologies is advancing. In this interactive demonstration, we will explore the world of wind power using a model windmill to generate electricity to power small models like sail cars and tricycles. Then we will learn how to build and design your own wind turbine prototype using the “Wired for Wind” 2011 4-H National Science Experiment curriculum materials.

Presented by - Michelle Dickerson, Montgomery County 4-H

Saturday, February 18, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- Virginia Career VIEW

Virginia Career VIEW

Really into computers? Love trying to figure out how things work? Learn about fun careers in technology at the Virginia Career VIEW exhibit. Through an interactive game, kids will learn more about technology careers and have some fun, too. Virginia Career VIEW is funded by Virginia's Department of Education Career & Technical Education department to research workforce needs and create resources for kids (and parents, teachers, and counselors) to use in grades K-8.

Visit Career VIEW at

Friday, February 17, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- "3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing"

Ever had a great idea for a new invention, but didn't know how to make it? Come by this booth to learn about 3D Printing and how it can be used to help you turn your dreams into reality! Participants will get to see a series of desktop-scale 3D Printers in action and get to see example parts created by the industrial-scale 3D Printers at Virginia Tech. Come learn about how 3D Printing works and what lies in its future!

Hosted by the Department of Mechanical Engineering's DREAMS Lab. The DREAMS Lab conducts research centered in additive manufacturing technologies. In addition to researching design tools, materials, and process improvements for additive manufacturing, the DREAMS Lab also explores how additive manufacturing technologies can be integrated into curricula to enhance STEM education.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Virginia Tech KTU Feb. 25th event exhibit- "Exploring Our World Through the Investigation of Materials"

We invite you to stop by our booth and become a materials scientist by investigating the properties of some materials! Through hands-on activities, you’ll discover why oil and water don’t mix, what magnetic fields look like, what causes silly putty to act the way it does, and more!!

*We are also introducing a pilot program, “”. Through this interactive website combined with hands on activities, we hope to encourage young girls (ages 5 -10) to explore the world around them through creative play!

Hosted by Professor Lou Madsen’s research group in the Chemistry department.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- EyeRobot For Secure Face Recognition

EyeRobot For Secure Face Recognition

Abstract: How do your friends be tagged in photos automatically on facebook?

Have you ever tried to login twitter via your face only? It is face recognition that makes all come true. However, have you ever found any flaw? Naughty kids may wear face photos to challenge the system. Can you secure the face recognition system? We bring an eyerobot to help make wise decisions on face recognition. Let it go and find the "real" person you want to talk to.

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- Human Powered Submarine Team

The Human Powered Submarine team will be showcasing their submarine at Kids' Tech on February 25th. The team will have a booth at the event with interactive activities that emphasize the benefits of 3d printing and design. For more information on the Submarine team, please visit our website:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- "Looking Down is Looking Up: Why do we work with aerial photography?"

Geospatial tools, which include geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing, provide us with a new understanding of the earth. In this activity, participants will use GIS to identify changes on the earth’s surface. We will examine aerial photography from two different time periods, and students will explore, estimate, and measure general changes in land use during these two periods. Observing these kinds of changes helps us understand how landscape changes influence our local communities and environments.

This hands-on activity is being led by a professor, a Ph.D. student, and two undergraduate students from the Department of Geography. The Geography Department (founded in 1975), located in Major Williams Hall, is part of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. We offer both Bachelors and Masters Degrees and we participate in the College of Natural Resources doctoral program in Geospatial and Environmental Analysis. We have recently added a new degree program in Meteorology. The department’s students are active in its Geographic Society’s many outreach events and fellowship activities, such as exploring caves in southwest Virginia. More information about our program, our students, staff, and faculty can be found on our website at

This activity is co-sponsored by VirginiaView, a state level organization within AmericaView—a national consortium that focuses upon research, outreach to K-12 and community college education, and distribution of imagery to a spectrum of users at state and local levels. VirginiaView’s mission encompasses many dimensions of the acquisition, analysis, and application of geospatial data to practical problems in natural resources, geography, geosciences, and agriculture. Additional information can be found at

Dr. John McGee, active within VirginiaView, prepared some of the activities presented this year at Kids’ Tech University.

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit hosted by CS^2

CS^2 is a student organization at Virginia Tech dedicated to bridging the "digital divide" in the New River Valley. This is accomplished through volunteer sites at local elementary schools and community centers, where we teach basic computer skills and lessons meant to spark an interest in technology.

Our display demonstrates a number of activities we perform at our sites, including logical problem-solving using Lightbot, computer model design using Google Sketch-up, game/software design with Scratch, and data visualization with Google Earth.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

VT KTU Feb. 25th exhibit- “Where in the world am I?" hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents

Where in the world am I?" hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents, Emily Nester, Tazewell County 4-H; Daniel Collins, Smyth County 4-H and Sarah Jones, Carroll County 4-H. We will be exploring the world of GIS and Google Earth; youth participants will be able to electronically pinpoint their 'world' address on a projectable map! We will provide information on Google Earth, GIS, and Geo-Caching!

Friday, February 10, 2012

BGSU Kids' Tech University Feb. program

"Seeing is believing: how being able to 'watch' individual protein molecules can tell us how protein enzymes work"

An interactive session led by Dr. Peter Lu

Ohio Eminent Scholar in the Department of Chemistry and a member of the Center for Photochemical Sciences

Proteins play crucial roles in living cells and in life. Proteins perform their functions under constant motions, adopting different shapes, flexibility, and interactions with other biological molecules. Typically, proteins do not act alone, and they often form complexes with other proteins to perform a specific task. Traditionally, protein biology has been studied through measuring thousands and even millions of molecules at a time, just like watching thousands of jellyfish in a snap shot photo picture. In recent years, novel microscopic and spectroscopic imaging approaches have followed the motions of a single protein in action just as you would if you were looking at a movie of a single jelly fish in a tank. In this talk, we will show you movies of single protein molecules in motion and see how this information is being used to understand how proteins actually work.

Dr. H. Peter Lu is an Ohio Eminent Scholar in the Department of Chemistry and a member of the Center for Photochemical Sciences. Dr. Lu was born in China and came to the US to obtain his PhD at Columbia University after first receiving his M Sc in Chemistry at Peking University in China. He was recruited from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory to join BGSU in 2006. Dr. Lu is a pioneer in the field of single-molecule spectroscopy, and has developed new techniques that enable the imaging of single protein molecules as they bind and transform their substrates. These studies have revealed that protein change their conformation when they interact with substrates. An understanding of these dynamic changes is critical to a molecular understanding of the many proteins that perform essential functions in our bodies.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

VT KTU Exhibit- Feb. 25th-"Computing and Gaming through the Ages"

Abstract: An exhibit of computing through the ages. Come see what gaming looked like in the 70's and 80's! Ever wonder what a "punch card" or a "slide rule" looked like? What did kids in the 70’s use to listen to their favorite music? (Hint: There were no MP3 players!) Find out what year the Internet was born. Kids will have a chance to take a sneak peek into Computers Through the Ages: The Evolution of Computing. We will have several dinosaur computers and gaming units on display as well as a PowerPoint presentation highlighting their evolution.

Presented by the Techsupport Community at Virginia Tech, a collaborative discussion group, facilitated by a listserv, of Central and Departmental Information Technology faculty and staff.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hokiesaurus Presents: Earthquakes in Virginia!

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 from 4-5pm.
Open for all age groups, focusing on K-9.
Virginia Tech Museum of Geosciences in 2062 Derring Hall
Parking passes available in the Museum, please come early if you need one.

Did you feel the earth shake on August 23, 2011 and you want to know why?
Please join us for an afternoon of learning and hands-on activities on why earthquakes happen and why we felt one near our home!

Watch for more Hokiesaurus Presents:... museum programs for kids and families offered by the GeoSTEM Outreach Team.

Kavli Science Video Contest- STEM Opportunity for Grades 6-12

The Kavli Science Video Contest was founded as a USA Science & Engineering Festival student competition. The contest promotes S.T.E.M subject learning by challenging students to research, brainstorm, and communicate creatively through video . This year the contest theme is "Save the World Through Science and Engineering" , inspired by the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges. We are asking students to use their
imaginations and investigative skills to tackle global challenges, explore new frontiers, and to discover and discuss the inventions that will help mankind and improve life on our planet. Grs. 6-12 students make a short video( :30-:90) that shows how scientific discoveries and inventions can improve our lives and change our world, either right now or in the future.

The winners receive cash prizes. The first place winner will also receive a travel stipend to attend the Expo in DC. Entry deadline is Mar. 21 2012. See here for more information

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shenandoah National Park is seeking applicants for the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT) program

The TRT program is seeking teachers to assist park staff with creating and implementing programs and educational materials on climate change impacts and environmental sustainability. Applicants should have a basic knowledge of climate change issues, public speaking experience, and skill in writing effective lesson plans. The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program provides an opportunity for a teacher to work as a park ranger during the summer and then take his/her experience back to the classroom.

More detailed information and application procedures are posted on the Shenandoah National Park webpage

Thursday, February 2, 2012

NASA Opportunity for Female High School Juniors

Engineer your dream job! Your adventure begins in 2012 with an online community and culminates with a summer experience at NASA Johnson Space Center in Summer 2012. Collaborate with girls from across the country and female NASA engineers and interns. Get ready to start your dream! For specific project information, visit

Apply before February 22, 2012.