Virginia Tech's School of Education and VT-STEM are sponsoring its annual “Kindergarten to College” series for fifth graders from high-needs schools across the state.

Now in its fourth year, the college aspirations program helps these young students consider the possibilities and benefits of attending college.

“Our program serves as a model across the commonwealth for college and career awareness partnerships,” says Sue Magliaro, professor of education and VT-STEM director, who coordinates the Kindergarten to College program.

This year, schools from Campbell County, Montgomery County, Prince William County, Roanoke City, and Roanoke County will be participating throughout the month of March.

The day begins with an orientation by Rachel Holloway, associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Holloway, who delivers many orientation addresses to incoming Virginia Tech students during the summers, encourages these younger students to think of the many occupations and careers that are made by possible with a college degree.

Delegate Joseph Yost will also be in attendance to welcome the children and discuss the importance of education.

Following the orientation, students split up into small groups and visit various science labs across campus where they view and become active participants in science experiments. The students visit labs in aerospace, chemistry, geological sciences, engineering education, the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology, Integrative STEM, physics, science education, and the WARE Lab.

The students then experience lunch on campus in D-2 dining hall with the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Lunch is followed by a tour of the athletics facilities including a visit to Lane Stadium and the Hokie Sports Memorabilia Room.

Virginia Career Vital Information for Education and Work plays an active role before, during, and after each visit with career awareness materials for the students, the teachers, and the parents. The online career awareness website provides everyone with a wealth of information to make the one-day visit a portal to ongoing career exploration and preparation. Recognized as the commonwealth's career information delivery system for all students in kindergarten through grade 8 in Virginia, the Virginia Career VIEW portal is also a service provided by Virginia Tech’s School of Education.

The Kindergarten to College program is supported by the Virginia Tech president's and provost's offices, along with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; College of Engineering; College of Science; the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute; the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology; the Department of Athletics; and the Corps of Cadets.

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