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Scientists/Exhibitors wanted for Virginia Tech Science Festival 2021

Exhibition proposal

Exhibitor agreement

  • The person submitting this form on behalf of the Organization represents and warrants that he/she has the necessary power, consent and authority to agree to the terms of participation in the Virginia Tech Science Festival. By submitting this form, Organization acknowledges receipt of and accepts the Virginia Tech Science Festival Terms and Conditions.

  • Exhibitors not affiliated with Virginia Tech must provide a certificate of insurance. Certificates must have a minimum general liability coverage amount of $500,000 per occurrence. The certificates must name “Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University” and the “Commonwealth of Virginia” as additional insured, and include the organization name, event date(s) and location(s) in the description area. Sample insurance certificate. A higher coverage amount or additional types of insurance (automobile, etc.) may be required based on the circumstances of the individual event.

  • Festival organizers may reject events that are determined to be excessively commercial. 

  • Festival organizers reserve the right to reject any event for any reason.

  • Festival exhibits must be a high entertainment, hands-on, and interactive experience that promotes science.

  • The promotion and display of firearms, tobacco, or pornography is strictly prohibited.

  • Any significant changes to Festival experience plans must be communicated to the festival director at least one week prior to the scheduled event.

  • To the extent permitted by law, the Organization agrees to release the Virginia Tech Science Festival, its sponsors, participating venues, and their respective officers, agents, employees, and volunteers from all claims for personal injuries, property damage or theft arising in any manner in connection with the Organization’s participation in the Virginia Tech Science Festival. The Organization further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Science Museum of Western Virginia for any injury or damages to any other person caused by the Organization’s negligence or intentional acts or inactions during the festival, to the extent allowable by law.

  • Festival organizers may modify the festival rules and terms and conditions at any time.

Do you have amazing and fascinating science to share with learners? It's time for the 2021 Virginia Tech Science Festival. 

The Virginia Tech Science Festival is shifting to maintain safe, two-way conversations between scientists and learners by (1) hosting teleconferenced Meetups between learner groups and scientists, (2) hosting school-bus-sized Field Trips to campus to visit labs, and (3) hosting small public events. Some of these experiences will be recorded and shared online.  

If you'd like to participate, but aren't sure whether you fit, feel free to reach out. Science is bigger than you think. Science is a way of thinking and includes social sciences, arts about science, science about arts, humanities based on data, business based on data, and much more. This is an opportunity to show our community the breadth and depth of the work we do at Virginia Tech. 

The festival is September 27 to November 19, 2021. We’ll begin scheduling on September 15.

Each festival experience (Meetup or Field Trip) should take about 30 minutes. In that time, festival hosts will introduce you to the learners, you’ll facilitate a 5- to 10-minute experience, and learners will have time to ask questions and talk with you. When the experience ends, your commitment is complete. 

We'll take care of connecting you with learners, hosting the meetup, collecting any video, editing any video, and evaluating the event. You bring your enthusiasm, your science, and your willingness to have two-way conversations with learners.

Some guidelines when you are ready to participate: You'll need

  • To connect your exhibit/program to something regular people can understand.

  • To connect your exhibit/program to careers.

  • To design an experience that allows learners to interact in some way. Lectures are for another day. Plan for your experience to take 10 to 15 minutes, with 5 minutes at the beginning for setup and 10 minutes at the end for questions and conversation. 

  • To identify some questions you hope learners will ask you.

  • A title. This exhibit name will identify your project on the festival webpage. It should be 75 characters or less, including spaces. It should be exciting and informative. It should not have your organization name in it or end with an exclamation mark. ("Boring!" is still not exciting.)

  • One person on your team who will receive emails about the event.

  • A description of your experience in 500 characters or less. 

  • An image to represent your project.

We will begin scheduling Meetups on September 15. Apply by then for top consideration. Scientist applications close September 30. Please let us know you're interested by completing the Meetup form. We'll also need information about your team members. Each person on your team should complete the exhibitor/volunteer form.

Questions? Email us at

Exhibitor timeline

August 31
Applications open

September 15
Scheduling begins

September 30
Applications close

September 27-30
Exhibitor workshops

October 4 - November 19
Meetups and Field Trips

Exhibitor workshops

  • Working with children
  • Reimagining diversity
  • Working with learners with autism
  • Communicating science


There is no fee to participate with an experience. Grant funded projects may support the festival with participant support costs to support field trips to campus. We encourage your organization to consider becoming a sponsor.

See Exhibitor Agreement.

No. The primary mission of the Virginia Tech Science Festival is to educate and entertain our festival visitors, and we want the focus of the exhibits to be interactive activities. As a result, festival policy prohibits all exhibitor/vendor sales at our event. However, the festival is a great way for organizations of all types to introduce themselves to the region. Exhibitors are welcome to distribute free promotional materials and also to direct festival visitors to their organizations and websites for off-site giving or purchasing opportunities. Please refrain from passing out candy and extraneous flyers, as they lead to litter.

Yes, a few. The promotion and display of firearms, tobacco, or pornography is strictly prohibited. We may reject exhibits that are determined to be excessively commercial. We reserve the right to reject any exhibit for any reason.

If you make any significant changes to Virginia Tech Science Festival exhibit plans, please notify Phyllis Newbill at least one week prior to your scheduled event.

Contact Phyllis Newbill.

For public health, groups will be kept small for the 2021 Virginia Tech Science Festival. Plan for 10 to 25 learners in your group.

Your exhibit will need a hook and an experience. For your hook, think of what will pique learners’ interest, including things that move, things that make sound, or intriguing questions. After the interest is piqued, then provide the experience that teaches a science concept or skill.

Check the exhibitor application for information about workshops for exhibitors.

Be sure your exhibit is appropriate for children of all ages. Some very young children attend, so set fragile objects out of reach. Think about how your message will be different for a 4-year-old and a 14-year-old.

Prepare a handout that can be distributed to educators or learners who want to do more. Also, browse Before the festival day, let your community know you'll be there by using the #VTSciFest hashtag and linking to the Virginia Tech Science Festival Facebook page in your social media networks.

Please don’t bring a poster from an academic conference. Your audience is not an academic audience, and they are unlikely to be intrigued. If you have a visual learning aid, you can hold it while you are referring to it or find a different way to send your message.

Maybe. Let's talk. Contact Phyllis Newbill.

Maybe. Power availability depends on the location of your exhibit. If your exhibit can't work without power or wifi, be sure to note that on your application. There are also spaces that have power nearby for recharging, but not at the site. 

Yes. Because we have spread the festival schedule over a number of weeks, it’s now possible to lead tours in specific places on campus.

Yes! For the Roanoke STEAM event, contact Don Pizzullo. For Hokie BugFest, contact Dana Beegle. There are many other outreach events throughout the year at Virginia Tech and at the Science Museum of Western Virginia. Watch your inbox for more opportunities. Contact Phyllis Newbill if you have specific outreach needs.