This dynamic program, designed by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, inspires students who are interested in STEM and motivated to learn about the many different opportunities that NASA offers.
The program features two key elements. The first is an interactive online STEM learning experience featuring five modules. Upon completion of the online program, top-performing scholars may be invited to attend a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA, where they will learn firsthand from NASA professionals and their partners about the latest, cutting-edge technologies and missions.
Students progress through a series of five modules to learn about NASA’s Earth and airborne sciences orbital and suborbital missions that are conducted or launched from Virginia’s Space Coast. Students have the opportunity to:
• Understand mission-related aerodynamic, science, and physics concepts
• Be connected with the latest information about NASA missions and discoveries
• Develop time management skills, and technical writing skills, and learn about NASA opportunities for students
Students are given three to four weeks to complete the activities within each module. After module one opens, the other modules open sequentially every three to four weeks. Each module has a theme around which the content is concentrated. Within each module, students are introduced to:
• The connection between science and technology for orbital and suborbital science missions
• How science drives the engineering and technology designs and decisions for flying payloads on high-altitude research balloons, sounding rockets, unmanned aerial systems, aircraft, or medium-class rockets
• STEM careers associated with NASA’s current missions
Upon successful completion of the online course, scholars who perform well in the course may be selected to attend a week-long summer academy at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA. Scholars who are selected for the week-long academy are provided transportation to and from NASA Wallops, housing, and meals during their stay. Parents/guardians are responsible for transportation to and from the academy.
Who Can Apply?
High School Sophomores!
Students from across Virginia are selected to participate through a competitive application process. In order to qualify for participation, students must:
● Be a Virginia resident (Note: Maryland residents may apply if a parent is a NASA Wallops Flight Facility civil servant or contractor employee.)
● Be a sophomore in high school
● Have a minimum GPA of 2.7
● Have access to the Internet (home, school, public library)
● Have an email address
● Have an interest in science, technology, engineering, or math
● Be a U.S. citizen to attend the summer academy at NASA Wallops Flight Facility
● Students who complete the online course will undergo a competitive selection process for an invitation to the summer academy
*Permanent residents may apply for the course; however, NASA security restrictions typically preclude non-citizen participation in the summer academies.
To apply, students complete an online application and provide a teacher recommendation and a school counselor letter confirming the student attends a Virginia high school, is in the 10th grade, and has at least a 2.7 GPA.
Once submitted, applicants receive an email confirmation, and the specified individuals receive email instructions to submit the letter of recommendation and a school counselor letter on the applicant’s behalf. Applicants should inform those individuals they will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters must be submitted via the online application system. Letters submitted in any other manner will not be accepted. It is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up to ensure the recommendation is submitted electronically by the deadline. The applicant will receive an email notification when this letter is submitted.
Calling all High School STEM Teachers!
We are looking for teachers with the following experience:
• Holds a current teaching license in a STEM subject for Virginia secondary school
• Formal education experience teaching earth science, aviation, and/or integrative STEM education, preferred
• Ability to attend mandatory master teacher training
• Moodle coursework/programming a plus
Facilitation of Online Coursework
Each master teacher will facilitate the VSCS online coursework for approximately 35 scholars in preparation for the potential participation in the summer academies at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA. The purpose of the VSCS program is to provide online coursework for scholars to acquire knowledge of NASA, Earth and aerospace exploration, and key STEM skills. The top 120 performing scholars from across Virginia who successfully complete the coursework will attend a seven-day, residential program in which they will undertake a teamed-aerospace mission design project at WFF. Master teachers for the online course must attend at least one week during the summer academies.
Master Teacher Stipend
$1800 for online course content grading and forum participation
$2000 for summer academy
• Grade modules submitted by the scholars and the final project promptly using prescribed performance rubrics. Online course module assignments that the students complete are due every three to four weeks beginning in November
• Provide personalized and timely feedback (within one week of submission) of assignments using the Moodle online coursework management website. Input grades into the system. Include comments regarding exemplary work and areas that need improvement. Provide examples of how work could be improved.
• Monitor scholars’ performance, quality of assignments, online posts, and replies within the discussion forums. Contact students individually as needed. Send VSGC copies of correspondence via email if concerns arise.
• Ensure online discussions are appropriate and topic-relevant. Address students individually through email if a breach of online etiquette occurs. Send VSGC copies of such correspondence via email.
• Maintain performance data and tracking of student performance using the online system. Alert VSGC of students who are falling behind on assignments and note the follow-up taken.
• Correspond with VSCS scholars and NASA mentors through online discussion forums, synchronous chat sessions, and email through the Moodle site.
• Complete Post-Course evaluation surveys
VSCS Coursework Training
A mandatory virtual training session will be held. You will be sent further instructions prior to training.
Application Deadline: October 15
Teachers are required to submit an online application by the October 15th deadline. Once you have submitted the online application, you will receive an email confirming the submission.
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation must be provided by a current or former supervisor, department chair, school administrator, or someone who can attest to the applicant’s professional qualifications. Once the applicant has submitted their application, the system will email the specified individuals instructions on how to submit their online letters of recommendation. Inform them that they will be receiving an email from email@example.com with these instructions.
All letters of recommendation must be submitted via the online application system. Letters of recommendation submitted in any other manner will not be accepted.
Important Note: It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with the people who are providing letters of recommendation to ensure the recommendations are submitted electronically by the deadline. The applicant will receive an email notification when each of these letters is submitted.
Virginia Space Coast Scholars (VSCS) is a FREE program for high school sophomores focusing on the science, technology, engineering, and math integral to current missions at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.