For Parents (FAQs) - Kids' Tech University (KTU) at SWVAC    

For the Parents - FAQs

Q: When I register my child to attend the program, are they signing up for just one day or all the days?
A: You are signing him or her up to attend both days: Oct. 14 and Apr. X.

Q: How long will the program last on Oct. 14 and Apr. X?
A: Generally it will last from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm each KTU day. We will email you with the specific start and end time closer to each day.

Q: How will a parent/guardian who's child is enrolled in KTU receive information on the schedule of events?
A: On the online registration form we will ask you for your email address(es). We will send schedules and information to this email address. Also, we have a blog ( that will give you information on the behind the scenes action and any updates on the program.

Please note: You will receive information about the program the Monday before the event date. It is the parents' responsibility to email Penny McCallum at if the program agenda was not received by Monday night.
If you have not emailed Penny McCallum by noon the day before the program you will not receive a response regarding where to go the next day.

Q: Why are the children separated from the parents during the interactive sessions?
A: We are striving to create a "university feel" that includes children attending an interactive session (lecture) with their peers in a university lecture hall. Volunteers will be with the children (in a ratio of 1 to 10) within the lecture space. Community volunteers will watch over your child until you come to pick him or her up. Parents are welcome to watch the interactive session from a different lecture hall, which is within a short walking distance from the children's lecture hall. Due to seat limitations we do not have space within the children's lecture hall to accommodate parents. After the interactive session, parents are required to pick up their child and escort him or her to lunch and to the hands-on activities.

Q: Why do you have a 1:10 ratio of volunteers to children in the lecture hall? Other programs generally work with a 1:24 ratio.
A: There are multiple reasons why this is a very good ratio with our program. First and foremost we have found that this ratio allows for ample amount of interaction between the children and the volunteer. Also, it allows for our volunteers not to be overwhelmed with a lot of children at one time. In the lecture hall it can be very noisy with a lot of things going on. This ratio insures security and happiness between the volunteers, children, and parents.

Q: What happens if there is an emergency within the lecture space?
A: We have support from the Virginia Highlands Police and Abingdon Rescue Squad to assist us with any emergencies that may arise. On the online registration form we will be asking for an emergency phone number in case there is a problem and we need to get in contact with you quickly.

Q: Are other children or siblings allowed to attend the interactive session or hands-on events?
A: No. Given the size and complexity of the program we cannot allow children that are not enrolled in the program to attend the morning Interactive Session with the Scientists or participate in the afternoon hands-on activities. If you bring a child (of any age) not enrolled in the program to the hands-on event (i.e. sibling of an enrolled KTU student) we will kindly ask you and your children to leave. The ONLY exception to this rule is a nursing child.

Q: How will lunches be served?
A: Lunch will be catered following each interactive session (lecture) period.

Please note: Parents are responsible for paying for their own meals.

Q: Is there an age restriction for the program?
A: Yes. Children who are between the ages of 9 and 12 on Sept. 30, 2017 are allowed to be registered for the program. If a child is enrolled without satisfying this requirement we will cancel their registration and notify you.

Q: What makes a child eligible for participation in KTU?
A: This is a first-come, first-served program that is open to children satisfying the age restriction, regardless of place of residence or academic achievements. The program is designed to accommodate up to 100 children between the ages of 9 and 12 (as of September 30, 2017) representing a geographically diverse area.

Q: Why is there a registration fee?
A: In order to keep up with the costs of providing a quality program (approximately $300 per child), there will be a registration fee of $100.00 per child, payable upon registration (no refunds). The parent will be directed to an online site to pay electronically; further directions will be given at the time of enrollment. A catered lunch and a KTU t-shirt will be given to all children who attend KTU.

Q: How can I assist the KTU program?
A: The Kids' Tech Program costs approximately $300 per child per semester to pay for supplies, meals and speakers. In order for this program to continue we must rely on the generous support of interested donors. A contribution of any size will help us defray some of these costs. If you'd like to make a donation to the KTU program, you may visit KTU Program Donations. If you would like to make a donation to the KTU program specifically in Abingdon, VA please visit VT Southwest Center KTU Donations.

Q: If a student attended any Kid's Tech University program in the past does that mean they are automatically enrolled for the 2017-18 program?
A: No. Although we do welcome back participants, we cannot guarantee any child a place in the program if they are not enrolled as one of the first 100 participants.

Q: Do we offer educator workshops in conjunction with the event topics of Kids' Tech University?
A: Yes! Teacher, after school educators, 4-H agents and school volunteers are welcome to attend. See our "For Educators" webpage!

Q: Are there any suggestions on ways KTU participants are able to continue learning about the STEM disciplines after the Saturday events in Abingdon, VA?
A: Kids' Tech University strives to actively keep its participants involved in learning activities after the KTU Saturday events. With this in mind, KTU has created the KTU Virtual Lab ( where KTU participants are able to continue their learning from home. The KTU Virtual Lab has various online labs and activities, to keep the kids engaged and motivated to learn even more about the STEM disciplines whenever they would like!