The Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) program is an interactive on-line science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning experience for Virginia high school juniors and seniors, highlighted by a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Students selected to participate in the program are immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers and technologists. The program is a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and NASA Langley Research Center. Hampton University's Center for Atmospheric Research and Education (NASA Grant: NNX15AQ03A) is providing funding to offer the online course and Thomas Nelson Community College is partnering to provide the dual enrollment college credit. The Virginia Earth System Science Scholars program proposes to build on the success of the award-winning Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program, a program which has offered dual enrollment credit, through TNCC, to over 2900 students since 2008.
The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is a coalition of five Virginia Colleges and universities , two NASA centers, State education agencies, and other institutions and informal science centers representing diverse aerospace education and research interests. The Consortium acts as an umbrella organization, coordinating and developing quality aerospace-related, high technology, educational, applications and research efforts throughout the Commonwealth as well as regionally and nationally for some activities. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is committed to promoting and achieving excellence in education and research in science, mathematics, technology and engineering at all academic levels in Virginia. The Consortium also seeks to encourage student and faculty diversity in these fields and to foster scientifically and technologically literate citizens. The Consortium received its NASA Space Grant designation in 1989.
Rich in history, steeped in tradition, Hampton University is a dynamic, progressive institution of higher education, providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs. In addition to being one of the top historically black universities in the world, Hampton University is a tightly-knit community of learners, researchers, and educators, representing 49 states and 35 territories and nations. Hampton University's Department of Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences is a world leader in studying the Earth and other planets from space, with responsibility for numerous instruments dedicated to studying the atmosphere including complete mission responsibility for the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) mission. The Hampton University Center for Atmospheric Research and Education provided support to create VESSS to connect students with the NASA research in a highly participatory way.
Langley Research Center (LaRC), located in Hampton, Virginia, was established in 1917 as the first civilian aeronautics research laboratory in the United States. For almost a century, the Center's research, science and technology developments has revolutionized aviation and spaceflight, and continues to enable all of NASA's missions and significant contributions to the nation. The Center's work is distinguished by its unique blend of product lines: advanced materials and structural systems; aerosciences; atmospheric characterization; entry, descent and landing; intelligent flight systems; measurement systems; and systems analysis and concepts. Langley's work spans concept to flight, from fundamental research through technologies, demonstrations and prototypes, to mission design and development. Langley works in partnership with U.S. industry, universities and other government institutions to solve national challenges and develop cutting-edge solutions that provide new capabilities, improve performances and/or reduce cost. The combination of expertise, capabilities and leadership in systems innovation enables on-demand air mobility, improves the understanding, adapting and mitigating of Earth's climate system, and extends human reach throughout the Solar System.