Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 11th, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors

"Redesigning the World Around Us"

Four facets of human factors will be exhibited. 'Safety' will consist of a slideshow of numerous workers performing hazardous tasks; participants must play a Where's Waldo-type game to identify multiple hazards and dangers in the working environment. 'Technology' will have one of the members showcasing and demonstrating their LEAP motion capture technology which participants can interact with. 'Heuristics' will have users undergo methods of calculating Fitt's Law in pointing and interaction exercises. Finally, 'Cognition' will have participants engaging in multitasking tasks to provide examples of multiple resource theory and difficulty in engagingin similar tasks. 

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

The Society's mission is to promote the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds.  We further serious consideration of knowledge about the assignment of appropriate functions for humans and machines, whether people serve as operators, maintainers, or users in the system. Furthermore, we advocate systematic use of such knowledge to achieve compatibility in the design of interactive systems of people, machines, and environments to ensure their effectiveness, safety, and ease of performance. The VT student chapter is one of the largest in the nation; winning gold chapter status continuously for numerous years.


"Experience Earthquake Engineering: Be the Engineer"

The EERI VT student chapter would like to participate in the Kids' Tech University event in order to spread awareness and knowledge of how today's structures are designed to with stand earthquakes. There are two subjects we would like expose the participants to that are related to our mission. The first is the geotechnical, what happens to ground during an earthquake, and we would like to set up a demonstration of this phenomenon. The second is the structural, what happens to a building during an earthquake, and we have a shake table that students can interact with, where in they can build and test their own structures. Our Civil and Environmental Engineering department has all necessary equipment to run both activities. 

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Student Chapter of Virginia 

The EERI/VT Student Chapter aims to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge pertaining to research and professional activities associated with earthquake engineering and with the student community at Virginia Tech (VT). Additionally, the Chapter seeks to encourage the interaction and scientific collaboration among VT students and professionals interested in earthquake-related research. Providing new scenarios where students can learn from each other’s research will advance the quality of their work while giving them a more comprehensive understanding of the field

Friday, March 20, 2015

March 21st, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors

Flood Simulation

We would like to present a hand-on experiment to demonstrate land usage around watersheds that can reduce flooding. For our demonstration, we will use a custom river simulation model that is about 6 feet long. We will prepare toy houses, cattle, trees, and other items to let participants arrange them along the river. We will then increase water flow rate to simulate a flood and reveal regions that is subjected to flooding. 

Alpha Epsilon Honor Society of Biological Systems Engineering

Alpha Epsilon is the honor society of agricultural, biological, and food engineering supported by the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.  We are consisted of both undergraduate and graduate students with graduate students take the leadership roles.  Our goals are to promote the ideals of engineering professions, to give recognition to engineers of related fields, and to encourage service to mankind.  We want to take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate some of the goals of agricultural engineering and generate interests in young audiences.


Antarctica Today:  Geography, Penguins and More!

Students from the Virginia Tech Hokies Abroad Antarctica program will present photos and information on their recent study abroad experience in Antarctica.  Students will present characteristics of the Antarctic continent and use maps of the world to help you locate and compare your home country to Antarctica.  The exhibit will include a hands-on activity to demonstrate the importance of insulation to wildlife survival in the cold Antarctic climate, as well as the opportunity to take a photo in special clothing designed for use in the Antarctic.  The Hokies Abroad students will also present photos and video of their experience in Antarctica, including their interactions with penguins and the blood-chilling polar plunge!

Hokies Abroad Antarctica

The Hokies Abroad Antarctica program is a Virginia Tech faculty-led course in which students take an online course during the fall semester, followed by a 2 week expedition to the coldest, windiest, driest, highest, quietest, most remote, and least understood continent on Earth.  In the Hokies Abroad Antarctica program, students study contemporary issues in Antarctica such as Antarctica's history, exploration and exploitation of natural resources, the continent's geology, climate, and marine and terrestrial biology, legal, psychological, and anthropological aspects of human activity in the region, conservation of fragile polar ecosystems, and the impact of cruise ship tourism to Antarctica on the surrounding region.  For more details, visit:  www.hokiesabroad.org

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 21st, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors

Microbiology Club of Virginia Tech

Our exhibit will focus on the role microbes play in our daily lives both good and bad.  We will have microscopes set up so that  individual bacterial cells may be seen and we will have bacterial cultures from different environments available for observation.  The small size of bacteria will be emphasized as well as the importance of hand washing before eating.

Microbiology Club of Virginia Tech

The Microbiology Club of Virginia Tech is a student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology.  Its memberships consists primarily of undergraduate students from across campus with an interest in microbiology.


Groundwater/Till vs. No-Till/Compost

The Virginia Tech Chapter of Soil and Water Conservation Society will be teachings kids and parents about the groundwater cycle, till versus no-till soil farm practices, and how to construct your own compost.
Groundwater is water that comes from the ground and it is a source of drinking water and a major source of water for irrigation. Groundwater supplies drinking water for 51% of the total U.S. population and 99% of the rural population.

Till vs. No-Till model will show the difference that a disturbed (till) soil has compared to no-till. Tilling is needed to mix amendments into the soil and also helpful to if soil is severe compacted. However, tilling is not always beneficial because it can affect soil carbon, microbial activity (i.e. earthworms killed), water pollution, to name a few.

Composting is a natural process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost that can act as a conditioner for soil. The importance, types of composting, and what you need to use will be discussed during our presentation.

Soil and Water Conservation Society, VT Chapter

SWCS is a nonprofit organization that advocates the protection, enhancement, and wise use of soil, water, and related natural resources. The Virginia Tech Chapter engages in a variety of service and social activities throughout the year, including documentary screenings, educational workshops, stream clean- ups, hiking, and other conservation activities.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 21st, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors

Fun with Paper Straw Rockets

Fun with Paper Straw Rockets" - Many a child's and adult's imagination has been fired by dreams of rocket flight to distant worlds. With some basic materials (paper, straws, and rocket fins, along with some simple assembly), children and adults will design, construct and launch paper rockets while also launching an exciting investigation and lesson about rockets that incorporates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Pulaski County 4-H

Pulaski County 4-H conducts the Paper Straw Rockets activity multiple times throughout the year through 4-H After-School Clubs, 4-H In-School Clubs and the Rockets & Paper Airplanes Class at 4-H Camp and 4-H Cloverbud Camp. The Paper Rocket activity demonstrates how rockets fly through the atmosphere looking at a variety of variables. A rocket with fins is more stable in flight than a rocket with no fins. And the placement and size of rocket fins is key to the rockets stability through flight.


How to Make a Square Bubble

The Society of Women Engineers at Virginia Tech exists to support and encourage women in all engineering fields. Our exhibit teaches science skills, such as surface tension and pressure. The purpose of this exhibit is to put children in front of a few materials and learn how to create different structures to produce various bubble shapes. The children will be given straws, pipe cleaners, and scissors. Given a little instruction, the children will create a cube and use bubble solution to create a square
bubble. The goal of this exhibit is to engage children in solving design problems and promote science growth.

Virginia Tech’s Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Virginia Tech contributes to the campus, the community, and its members. SWE participates in many service projects aimed at encouraging young women to consider a career in engineering as well as projects that help the environment and the New River Valley community. SWE creates a network of women engineers throughout Virginia Tech and demonstrates the value of diversity on this campus. SWE also offers scholarships, career advice, mentoring, and professional, social, and service opportunities for its members. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 21st, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors


Putting men on Mars is a much larger task than putting them on the moon. The distance between Mars and Earth varies due to their different orbits around the sun. At favorable positions both planets are still at least 56 million kilometers apart. These favorable positions occur about every 2 years. The moon is on average less than 400,000 kilometers from earth. Using current propulsion technologies it takes about 300 days to reach Mars from Earth.  All that makes it difficult and expensive to provide supplies from earth to mars. Especially critical for a human presence on mars are fuel, oxygen and water. The goal of VT Astrobotics is to design and build a robot that can mine materials used to produce these substances and others necessary for a Mars mission.


Virginia Tech Astrobotics is a multidisciplinary team with the goal of designing and building a rover to compete in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition. The purpose of this competition is to simulate in a Martian environment the extracting and recovering minerals and valuable resources necessary for space travel and exploration.


Special Senses

How do your body recognize what happens in the environment? In our exhibit medical students from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will interact with you to demonstrate the Special Senses. You will learn that 1) Touch is part of the sensory system and it is more than using our hands to feel things. Our skin helps us to recognized difference in temperature, vibrations, texture, pressure and pain. 2) The visual system can trick us with optical illusion due bright light and contrasting patterns. It is the mental processing that determines how we see the world. 3) The auditory system detects sound vibration and we can identify where the sounds come from because we have two ears on each side of our head. 4) Taste and Smell are the chemical senses and they are very close related.

VTCSOM Basic Sciences Department

Volunteers students and a faculty from Basic Sciences from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (Roanoke, VA).

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 21st, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors

Science Tricks!

How can you pick up a coin out of water with your bare fingers without getting wet? How can you create a bowl a fluid that is neither a pure solid nor a pure liquid, but rather a combination of the two? Using basic household items -- cornstarch, water, kitchen pans, candles and coins -- undergraduate science students from Virginia Tech’s Da Vinci and Curie Living Learning Communities will present two simple, tactile experiments to answer these questions. A sticky, gooey, and fun way to learn!  

Curie and Da Vinci Living Learning Communities

Curie and Da Vinci are part of Virginia Tech's inVenTs living-learning community, a combination of four STEM residential communities in Lee Hall.  Curie and Da Vinci students study physical, quantitative, biological and life sciences.  See http://inventscommunity.org for more details!


Exploring Simple Circuits
Electricity is an important part of our lives that allows us to talk on the phone, play computer games, and even keep warm. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate how a basic electrical circuit works.  Participants will have the opportunity to create their own simple circuits using household materials. At the end of the activity, participants will be able to take their circuit’s home. And since we are the Neuroscience Club, we will relate electrical circuits to biological ones!

Neuroscience Club at Virginia Tech

The Neuroscience Club at Virginia Tech a student-led academic organization that allows students to explore the interdisciplinary field of Neuroscience. We invite guest speakers from different fields to teach at club meetings as well as organize outreach programs to engage the Blacksburg community in this exciting and growing field.

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 21st, Virginia Tech KTU exhibitors

VOICE, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Virginia Tech’s Chapter of VOICE (Veterinary Students as One In Culture and Ethnicity) is a student organization at the veterinary school that focuses on issues related to diversity within veterinary medicine. VOICE will be talking about a number of topics in veterinary medicine, including animal anatomy, radiology, and cardiology. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about dogs, cats, horses, as well as different farm animals and how veterinarians take care of those animals. There will be x-rays and other specimens to interact with for a hands-on learning experience.


Bacterial Computers and Microfluidics

Just like we can run programs on computers, we can run programs in living bacteria, like the E. coli in your gut.  This is called synthetic biology.  In the near future, synthetic microbes will be used to clean the environment, test for toxic chemicals, and even produce fuel for our cars.  At our booth, we will let you tinker with these cells and share your work for your friends and family to see!  The way we design and test synthetic bacteria is by using "microfluidics," which is tiny plumbing that we can put on a microscope.  Fluid is moved through the plumbing by controlling the height of syringes using computers and motors.  Come to our booth for an interactive demonstration!

Mather Lab, Physics Dept., VT

The Mather Lab is part of the Dept. of Physics and affiliated with the Dept. of Biology.  We are actively researching topics in synthetic biology and biophysics, including both theoretical and experimental components.  Our research is into the foundations of gene circuits in bacteria, especially considering how the degradation of proteins leads to novel circuit behavior.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 Biotechnology Educators Conference at Virginia Tech

Fralin Life Science Institute and Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech are excited to offer the 2015 Biotechnology Educators Conference for high school and community college educators! The goal of the conference is to provide technical and content updates for science educators, including new applications in medicine, infectious disease, and agriculture.

The conference is July 29-31st. Participants may choose from an array of workshops and come together for 2 talks and a social dinner. On July 29th, there will be a pre-conference Biotech Bootcamp available for educators new to biotechnology.

Registration is currently open ($75, late registration starts May 1st- $100). CEUs will be given.

For more information on registration, schedule, talk/workshop information, and housing options see http://vbi.vt.edu/resources/biotech .