Direct Engagement of Teachers and Students with  Businesses

The Foundation understands that providing on-site and hands-on experiences to teachers and students are important to demonstrating how science is put to work and that careers in science are within the reach of our students.   We also understand that it is important to engage teachers and guidance counselors who are the students’ first exposure to the exciting world of science.  There are many opportunities to engage teachers and students with businesses, including tours, mentorship programs, on-site experiments, in-classroom/lab support with business representatives, teacher workshops (local and statewide), and teacher professional development.  The Foundation encourages its membership to offer such opportunities for exposure to teachers and students, including facility tours and bioTeach social events.

Central Resource for Supplemental Teaching Materials

Across the US, a large number of bioscience teaching tools have been created that provide learning material and meaningful experiences to teachers and students.  Curated by a team of Virginia schoolteachers, the Foundation has funded the creation of a database of no-cost, supplemental teaching and laboratory resources to augment the classroom experience known as the Virginia bioSTEM Resources Program.  The Program resides on the Virginia Department of Education website.  The wide range of materials, each linked to Virginia Science Standards of Learning, includes:

  •     Experimental kits
  •     Simulations
  •     Classroom/lab ideas
  •     Field Trips
  •     Websites
  •     Other teaching tools


BioScience Camp Scholarship Program for Underprivileged Students

The Foundation funds a number of summer bioscience camp opportunities for students whose families do not have the financial resources to pay for their children’s attendance.  Most of the camps in Virginia are run at the universities, and the Foundation is working with as many universities as possible to offer support to underprivileged students across the state.

“Biotech-in-a-Box” Program

The Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech has for several years been offering at no charge a number of science kits for high school level, in-class room use. The “Biotech-in-a-Box” program, in operation since 1994, loans out 30 biotech education kits to schools across the Commonwealth. In 2015, over 20,000 kits were loaned out to schools statewide. The Virginia Bioscience Foundation provides resources to replace consumables to maintain the kits for distribution.

State Science and Engineering Fair Awards

The Virginia Bioscience Foundation provides judges and sponsors the Mark Licata Biotechnology Awards for the top three (3) projects in bioscience fields to high school students competing in the annual State Science and Engineering Fairs.

BioGENEius Challenge

The Virginia BioGENEius Challenge, co-hosted by the Virginia Bioscience Foundation and MedImmune, is a competition for high school students doing research in biotechnology. Finalists from the Virginia BioGENEius Challenge will be selected to attend the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge held each year during the BIO International Convention.

The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. The BioGENEius Challenge promotes excellence and enables students to continue research in biotechnology and design an original independent research project. This competition is an intensive and valuable research experience for high school students.

For complete rules, and participation criteria, or to apply online, please click here.

Matching funds for bioscience internships

Internships uniquely provide students with meaningful exposure to science careers in business and how a business operates, as well as opportunities to develop mentoring relationships with company scientists and business leaders.  Building a robust internship program in Virginia will develop a supply of scientific talent for Virginia’s growing bioscience industry, while supplying the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.  The Foundation believes that the member companies of Virginia BIO have a responsibility to embrace internships for college and high school students, and actively encourages the participation of our member companies across Virginia.

The Foundation ensures that internship programs provide meaningful experiences for students.   The Foundation will seek opportunities to publicize the wide participation of our member companies offering internships across Virginia so that the value of internships and the commitment of Virginia BIO members to bioSTEM education are clearly communicated to the public.

Click here for a list of Virginia bioscience firms that may offer internships.

Future Programs

Curricula Design and Enrichment

In the future, the Foundation intends to proactively participate in the design of curricula that improve teacher and student exposure to bioscience at all levels in a manner that demonstrates how bioscience disciplines translate to industry and rewarding careers.   If you are interested in helping develop a curriculum, please contact Jim Powers.

Entrepreneur Training

In the future, the Foundation will sponsor programs that train new entrepreneurs in how to successfully start and operate bioscience-related careers by recruiting a faculty of experienced entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth.