Hampton University has partnered with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) and the new Virginia Earth Science Scholars Academy (VESSS) to connect high school students with NASA topromote secondary education.
This summer 73 high school students from across Virginia came to the NASA Langley to design space missions in teams worked with mentors at NASA to research issues such as tracking global pollution, monitoring drought conditions, sea level changes, and the atmospheric impacts of volcanic eruptions. VESSS Academy is designed to push scholars to their limit by testing their knowledge of STEM fields in order to create four viable Earth science missions.
“The programs is designed to connect NASA to students of different levels for a intensive one week, highly participatory, program on how we (NASA) work in space,” said Dr. Bill Moore, principal investigator for the HU National Institute of Aerospace.
At the completion of the week, student teams had the opportunity to present their missions in a Mission Design Review to a panel of experts for feedback.
Throughout their journey of designing Earth science missions, students will be in constant interaction with not only undergraduate interns and master teachers, but NASA scientists and engineers who will mentor these scholars. These industry professionals will expose students to the many opportunities available in STEM fields.
“Seeing young people engage with us on this important mission is truly inspiring. It has been a pleasure to offer this program to these exceptional students in partnership with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Hampton University,” said David Young, director of NASA Langley’s Science Directorate.
A combination of high school, college undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to take an online course for VESSS Academy, earning college credit through Thomas Nelson Community College. The course provided students with an understanding the Earth is a complex system and how small changes can affect it. After the course students are able to apply for the in person academy hosted by NASA Langley free of charge.