On-Site VESSS Academy Information

2024 Summer Academy Week

Week 1- July 6-12, 2024

Week 2- July 20-26, 2024

Students selected for the VESSS Summer Academy will be notified by mid-May 2024. Selections will be made based on VESSS Online Course performance. To be considered for the Summer Academy, all assignments, APA papers, Labs, and online quizzes must be completed (no zeros).

Students selected to attend the VESSS Summer Academy will be given a chance to rank their preferred team and program staff will do their best to accommodate all student team preferences.

Academy Information

The Summer Academy is held at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.
Students are housed at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA.
Scholars will arrive at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia on Saturday and depart on Friday afternoon directly from NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

What you need to know prior to the VESSS Summer Academy at Langley Research Center (LARC)

Please take the time to review the information below and contact us if you have any further questions.


What To Bring

CNU will NOT provide any linens. Students will need to bring sheets, towels, pillows, blankets, etc.
Photo ID (current school picture ID, Driver’s License, or passport)
Any medications you take (very important)
Phone Charger!!!!!
Laptop (not mandatory) and charger
Toiletries such as – Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodorant, etc.
Camera (suggested – there are many photo opportunities!)
Money for extra snacks, NASA gift shop (NASA shirts, jackets, hats, etc.), and Virginia Living Museum.
Quarters for laundry – if you decide to wash your clothes during the week, the machines only take quarters.
Hairdryer (if you need one)
Earplugs if you are a light sleeper (optional)
Clothing – pants, sweatpants, pajamas, socks, belt, etc.
Students must wear Closed-toed shoes and long pants at all times when at NASA Langley.
Light Jacket or sweater: Some rooms at LARC are frigid, so come prepared.
Spending Money: All meals, field trips, and lodging are provided for students and teachers. Spending money should be brought for items such as additional snacks and souvenirs.

Do not bring any foods that contain nuts and/or processed in factories with nuts.  Please check your food labels.


A more detailed list will be provided closer to the academy dates.

Saturday Arrival

Students should arrive at Christopher Newport University between 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. on the Saturday of the Academy to which they are assigned. Specific dorm information will be sent to the students before the Academy.

NOTE: Students will NOT be able to access their vehicle during the week if they drive themselves. We prefer that parents/guardians drop off and pick up.


VESSS staff will be in the lobby to register students. Rooms are pre-assigned and may NOT be changed or traded with another student. Each room will house two same-sex students. Teachers stay in rooms on the same floor as the students and serve as chaperones. Additional information concerning housing will be sent closer to the academy dates.


Students are required to be under the supervision of the VESSS staff, teachers, or mentors at all times.

A VESSS representative will stay at the dorms throughout the duration of the program and is responsible for VESSS interaction with the University. Students and teachers report any problems to this person.


All meals are provided for students during the Summer Academy. You may choose to bring additional snacks. Please do not bring nut products.


Students are not allowed to wear shorts during the day and planned evening activities. Students should dress appropriately, clean, and pressed t-shirts (no slogans) on Tuesday with jeans or khakis and wear closed-toed shoes while at NASA LaRC.  All other times students will wear their VESSS polos.


Boys must wear belts and tuck in their shirts; no hats or caps are worn during the week. Button shirts or polo shirts with sleeves are acceptable and preferred. Only closed-toe shoes or sneakers will be permitted.


Girls should not wear skirts or dresses during the week because of the facility tours, which may require some climbing and bending. Long pants, Polo Shirt, and closed-toe shoes or sneakers are allowed.


The Scholars will wear their VESSS polo shirts and clean, pressed khakis or nice jeans for the Closing Ceremony.


While at the dorms, students may change into shorts (Fingertip length or sweatpants).  T-shirts can be worn.  No offense logos are permitted.  Proper coverage should be maintained at all times.  Violators will be warned and be asked to change into acceptable clothing.

Cell Phones

Cellular phones are permitted but must be turned off at all times during the Academy. If a phone call is necessary, please do so only during breaks or lunch.

In the case of an emergency, when a parent or guardian must reach you, they can call the VESSS Staff. Staff phone numbers will be provided in final email correspondence before the Academy.


You will be transported to and from CNU and tours onsite at NASA LaRC by bus. Observe all bus rules regarding conduct while aboard.


You must have a valid Photo ID. Accepted IDs: Driver’s license, Current School ID, Passport, or DMV Photo ID. This must be with you at all times.


NASA LaRC issues a temporary identification badge at the beginning of the Academy. You must wear this badge at all times when at NASA LaRC. The badge should be attached to the VESSS lanyard and worn around the neck.


Report lost badges immediately to the VESSS Staff. Visitor badges are returned to VESSS Staff at the end of the Summer Academy at check-out.


The purpose of this policy is to state in advance the plan to ensure proper discipline for Virginia Earth Science System Scholars (VESSS). This policy will be used for handling all disciplinary actions during the weeklong Summer Academy at NASA LaRC. *More details will be provided in the student behavior contract.

VSGC and NASA LaRC endorse a zero-tolerance policy toward misbehavior and/or disregarding stated rules or safety instructions. Therefore the following procedures will be followed in the event of a problem with student conduct.


1. Any blatant disregard of the rules of conduct, inappropriate or unsafe behavior will result in the student being called into the Program Manager’s office for a documented verbal warning and a phone call to parents. Inappropriate actions that merit immediate disciplinary action will result in the student being sent home without a warning.


2. Warning and phone conversation will be documented and reviewed with appropriate VESSS staff, teachers, and mentors.


3. No other warning will be given. Any other disruption or misbehavior will result in students being sent home.

Basic Rules of Conduct (more detailed list provided)

You will be sent home for:

Leaving the accompaniment of a chaperone (mentor, teacher, VSGC, or NASA LaRC personnel) at any time, for any reason, without permission.
Unacceptable behavior (not following any staff or teacher’s directions, fighting, public displays of affection, profanity, failing to adhere to the dress code or rules of conduct, safety, technology use rules, etc.).
Accessing your car.
Leaving your room after curfew for any reason.
Damage to any property (You are also held financially responsible).
Stealing (from NASA, gift shops, dorms, or restaurants).  Please remember while at NASA, you are on a federal facility.
Drinking alcohol or smoking.

Closing Event and Awards

(emails will be sent to students in the late spring with details)

After the Summer Academy, a closing event and reception will be held in the NASA Langley Reid Conference Center beginning at 10:00 a.m. In addition to the scholars, teachers, mentors, guests will include parents, legislators, NASA senior staff, and other NASA VIPs.


Scholars can bring guests to the Closing Ceremony and be contacted by staff before the Academy to obtain guests’ names for badging. All students and guests must be U.S. Citizens to obtain a visitor badge.

You will be asked to provide names of family/friends who plan to attend to the VESSS Coordinator no later than 5:00 PM on Sunday of your academy.  You will be provided a survey to complete.  Any guest 16 years or older will be required to have a picture ID- driver’s license, current school ID, or passport.


Upon completion of the Summer Academy, each participant will receive the following:

  1. Certificate of completion for participating in the Virginia Earth System Science Scholars program.
  2. Group photograph that was taken by NASA and/or VSGC photographer (Located on the VSGC Flickr account)
  3. VESSS program polo shirt(s)


Directions for parents/guardians to NASA Langley for Closing Ceremony
Directions to NASA Langley Research Center


Norfolk International Airport to NASA Langley Research Center

  1. Depart from Norfolk International Airport, VA
    0.4 mi
  2. Turn left onto Norview Ave
    0.8 mi
  3. Keep straight onto SR-247 / Norview Ave
    0.4 mi
  4. Take ramp right for I-64 West / Hampton Roads Beltway toward Richmond / Hampton
    17.3 mi
  5. At exit 262B, take ramp right for SR-134 North / Magruder Blvd toward Poquoson / NASA
    2.1 mi
  6. Take ramp right for SR-172 North / Commander Shepard Blvd toward NASA / LAFB
    1.1 mi
  7. Turn right onto Langley Blvd
    < 0.1 mi
  8. Arrive at NASA Langley Badge & Pass Office
    Route: 22.1 miles, 29 minutes


Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport to NASA Langley Research Center

  1. Depart toward Bland Blvd
    0.2 mi
  2. Keep straight onto Bland Blvd
    0.3 mi
  3. Turn left onto SR-143 East / Jefferson Ave
    1.1 mi
  4. Take ramp right for I-64 East toward Norfolk / Hampton
    6.7 mi
  5. At exit 261B, take ramp right and follow signs for Hampton Roads Center Pkwy
    1.2 mi
  6. Take ramp right and follow signs for Magruder Blvd / SR-134
    0.2 mi
  7. Turn left onto SR-134 North / Magruder Blvd
    1.3 mi
  8. Take ramp right for SR-172 North / Commander Shepard Blvd toward NASA / LAFB
    1.1 mi
  9. Turn right onto Langley Blvd
    < 0.1 mi
  10. 10. Arrive at NASA Langley Badge & Pass Office
    Route: 12.0 miles, 18 minutes