2024 Blast Session Dates


Old Dominion University: June 16-19

William & Mary: June 23-26

Virginia Tech: July 7-10

Radford University: July 21-24

University of Virginia: July 28-31

Building Leaders for Advancing Science and Technology (BLAST)


Program History


Building Leaders for Advancing Science and Technology (BLAST) is a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Old Dominion University (ODU), Radford University, University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Tech (VT), William & Mary, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The program was funded by the General Assembly with the purpose of increasing the number of high school graduates who pursue STEM careers by increasing students’ access to STEM enrichment experiences.

BLAST Benefits


BLAST exposes students to an exciting range of hands-on STEM learning experiences and gives participants a sense of what life is like on a college campus. Through faculty and staff-led activities, demonstrations, tours, and guest lectures, students fine-tune their STEM interests and discover how they can align with a range of STEM careers. Many participants have shared that these experiences helped them make decisions about what classes to take before they graduate high school, and majors they will consider in college.

Students may apply to attend any ONE session at either William & Mary, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Radford University, or Old Dominion University.

Qualification Requirements


  • Be a current 8th or 9th grade student at a Virginia middle, high, home-school or private school.
  • Be a Virginia resident and U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident.
  • Have at least a C+/B- average (minimum 2.7 GPA).
  • Have a desire to explore STEM opportunities.
  • Not have previously attended BLAST.


While transportation to BLAST is not provided, we may be able to assist students who are unable to secure transportation. Please contact the BLAST Coordinator at, if you are selected and have transportation concerns.  Please note that check-in time is between 3 – 4 p.m. on the first day of the session and check-out time is between 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. on the last day of the session.


Selection Process


All qualified applications will be reviewed by a panel of educators, and student selections will be made for the number of available slots for each university. Geographic and demographic diversity are taken into consideration as well as students who have not had previous access to STEM enrichment experiences.