P. O. BOX 2120

March 31, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Russian International Space Olympics for Students

 The Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, and the 
Education Department of Korolev, Russia, announce the 2000 Russian International 
Space Olympics.  This program provides an opportunity for 10 Virginia students who 
will be juniors or seniors during the 2000-2001 school year to participate in the 
International Space Olympics in the Moscow suburb of Korolev during October 2000.  
Students will compete in the Olympics by presenting an oral presentation of their 
research project and participating in selected tests in physics, mathematics, and/or
computer science. Highlights of the visit will include the opportunity to talk to 
scientists and cosmonauts and to interact with students from Russia and other 
countries.  Students also will participate in a variety of cultural activities.

Students who are selected to participate will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the
Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, and 
other sources. While this scholarship covers approximately one-half of the total 
expenses, the Virginia Department of Education will continue to seek additional 
funding for the project. All interested students are encouraged to apply for the 
International Space Olympics and anticipate some additional funds. Students should, 
however, plan for expenses that include attendance at two orientation sessions, visa
and insurance costs, ground transportation to the airport from their homes, and 
discretionary spending money.  

The International Space Olympics is a two-week trip to the Moscow region of Russia.  
Participants are tentatively scheduled to leave the United States on October 18, 
2000, and return on October 29, 2000.  The costs to participants will be 
approximately $1,000 per person if no additional funding is available.  This cost 
may vary slightly because negotiations for all expenses have not been completed.   

Applicants must obtain permission to participate in this program from their parents 
and school divisions.  The opportunity to participate will be competitive based on a 
student's research project, grades/courses taken, and videotaped project 
presentation.  The student-produced research project should be on the topic of 
space exploration.  An announcement of the International Space Olympics and an 
application form will be mailed to all mathematics and science contact persons and 
high school principals in April. 

Selected students and a parent must agree to attend two one-day training seminars 
in Richmond before the departure date.  The seminars will provide orientation and 
background materials for the trip.  

Thank you for your support of the International Space Olympics.  If you have 
questions regarding this program, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Beverly 
Thurston, specialist for history/ social sciences & international education, at 
(804) 225-2893.