Online Course, Summer Academy Now Open To H.S. Juniors In
Calling Virginia high school juniors: NASA invites you to
compete for a place on teams that will chart a mission to Mars next
The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS)
program, initiated last year by NASA Langley Research Center
Director Lesa B. Roe in partnership with the Virginia Space Grant
Consortium, is now taking applications for the Web-based course and
all-expense-paid summer residential academy.
The program is open to high school juniors and home schoolers
across the Commonwealth. Deadline for application is November
"I firmly believe that last year's pilot program identified and
recognized Virginia super stars, challenged their fertile minds and
opened up career paths perhaps they had not yet considered," said
Offered via the Internet from December 2008 through May 2009,
the program consists of 10 lessons and a final project that allow
students to build their knowledge of NASA and get hands-on
experience in science, technology, engineering and math.
Based on course performance, scholars may be selected to
participate in a seven-day academy at NASA Langley Research Center
in Hampton, VA where they will team with NASA mentors and undertake
an aerospace mission.
Last year's inaugural experience brought together 43 students
from across Virginia. This year at least 200 students will be
selected to participate in the distance-learning course and to
compete for the summer academy as part of the program's expansion
"It definitely ranks at the top of the experiences I've had
during my high school career," said Shawn Mittal from Chantilly
High School in Fairfax, VA, about last year's program. "I learned a
lot because I got to talk to NASA mentors and people who actually
work with the stuff I want to do."
"One of the best parts [of the program] was working together as
a team, learning to cooperate with each other," added Wen Chen from
Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, VA.
The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars program
uses a NASA-developed curriculum with a space-based theme and is
aligned with Virginia Standards of Learning. Master educators work
with students online, providing guidance and feedback on
assignments. At the summer academy, students will interact
personally with NASA scientists, engineers and technologists.
The Virginia Space Grant Consortium manages the program with
support from the Virginia Department of Education. Also providing
support are Analytical Mechanics Associates Inc., ATK Space
Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sierra Lobo, Unisys,
the Dominion Virginia Power Foundation and the GenCorp Foundation
on behalf of Aerojet in Virginia.