Kids' Tech University sparking children's passion for STEM

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Interactive presentations at Kids' Tech University helps students see STEM concepts in the world around them.

BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - Kids' Tech University at Virginia Tech has been helping grade-schoolers experience the joy of scientific discovery since 2009.

The 2017 program, slated to serve 450 young people from across the region, is now open for online registration.

Designed for children ages 9 to 12, Kids' Tech University uses kids' curiosity about the world around them to introduce fundamental concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Basic questions like, "What will my neighborhood look like when I grow up?" can be an entry point for young people to learn about the predictive powers of big data.

Virginia Tech science organizations and local tech firms will host a series of activity fairs to help attendees experience a full range of STEM subjects. Volunteers interested in exhibiting at these events can apply online to reserve a space.

The 2017 program will be rounded out by a set of kid-friendly lectures, delivered by top Virginia Tech faculty. Sallie Keller, director of the Biocomplexity Institute's Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory, will kick things off with an interactive discussion of how data science can be applied to improve our local communities.

"With the vast amount of information being generated in every area of our daily lives, the statistical sciences are going to be a crucial skill set for the next generation," said Keller. "It's wonderful to have this opportunity to pass that along: not just the basic concepts, but the excitement for what they can achieve."

Next year's line-up of presenters will also feature faculty from Virginia Tech's School of Neuroscience, affiliates of the Fralin Life Science Institute, and leaders from the tech firm, Rackspace.

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