The award-winning educational program Kids’ Tech University  celebrated a new milestone in achievement recently for its first corporate sponsorships from Rackspace, as part of the Rack Gives Back  program, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. 

Designed for children ages 9 to 12, Kids' Tech University excites children about science while providing them with valuable experience in a university setting.

Through its Rack Gives Back program, Rackspace identifies local avenues for giving or volunteerism. One of their preferred areas is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Robert McAden, business operations manager for Blacksburg’s Rackspace office, had enrolled his daughter in a Kids' Tech University course and saw the great benefit and need to continue the program.

“As an employer, Rackspace is reliant on a STEM-educated workforce and strives to support programs that reach kids and foster an early interest in technology. We participated in the hands-on activities at Kids' Tech University last year and were able to observe the value of the program first-hand. That is why we decided to help fund this valuable program,” said McAden.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, a leading laboratory equipment company, donates to local communities in an effort to support the next generation of scientists -- a perfect match for the program's mission.

Corporate sponsorships are a great boon since registration fees generally don’t cover the cost of the program. Kids' Tech University strives to provide scholarships for needy students and build future economic stability through nurturing the upcoming workforce. 

In addition to the sponsorship from Rackspace and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Kids' Tech University has also formed an alliance with the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council to continue to spread the word about its exciting educational opportunities for students.

"For the program to be sustainable in the long run all the stakeholders will need to contribute. One of these is the business community, since Kids' Tech University is fundamentally a program to build the future workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our partnerships with Rackspace, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council represent a great step in engaging regional businesses,” said Reinhard Laubenbacher, director of education and outreach at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute.

Executive Director Derick Maggard noted: “The Partnership between Kids' Tech University and Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council is important because it allows our local technology communities to showcase real world applications of STEM studies; inspires kids to pursue a career in a STEM-related industry; and provides a fun, educational experience outside the classroom. By partnering with Kids' Tech University, the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council hopes to continue its mission of community outreach, raising the profile of our regional technology assets, and most importantly, inspire our young people to become scientists, techies, engineers, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs.”

Kids’ Tech University has just updated its website with the program schedule for 2013, which includes interactive sessions on topics including: fossilization processes, DNA, ships controlled by cell phones, and how math influences diabetes research. Kids' Tech University registration will open on the above website at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4.

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