Superintendent’s Memo #297-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

October 14, 2011

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars Program

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium, NASA Langley Research Center, and the Virginia Department of Education are partnering to provide an exciting opportunity for high school juniors in Virginia in 2011-2012.  This competitive program allows high school juniors to apply for an engaging NASA-developed course using a space exploration theme. Online coursework will teach a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills aligned with Virginia and national standards. After successfully completing the course, scholars have the opportunity to be selected to participate in an all-expense-paid, seven-day residential Academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The program seeks to broaden students' STEM knowledge, while providing meaningful, real-world experiences and career role models.

The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) coursework is offered online from December 2011 through May 2012. This graded course consists of ten lessons and a final project that allow students to build their knowledge of NASA and space exploration and key STEM skills. Master educators will work with students online throughout the course, providing ongoing communication and feedback on assignments, quizzes, and the final project.

Students selected for the residential NASA Summer Academy will spend seven days with science, engineering, and technology mentors, and master educators at NASA Langley Research Center in the summer of 2012. They will undertake a mentored team aerospace mission and will be immersed in hands-on, experiential STEM activities. Students will receive two college credits for successful completion of online coursework and two college credits for the Summer Academy.

To apply, students must:

Additional background information and application forms can be found at: . The application deadline is November 4, 2011. For further information, please contact Amber Agee-DeHart, VASTS program manager, Virginia Space Grant Consortium, by e-mail at or by telephone at (757) 766-5210.