About Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars

Student working in the lab The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program is an interactive on-line science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning experience highlighted by a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, Virginia. Students selected to participate in the program are immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers and technologists. 


Who can apply?

Students from across the state of Virginia are selected to participate through a competitive application process. In order to participate students must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen and Virginia resident
  • Be currently in their junior year of high school and at least 16 years of age
  • Have interest in or an aptitude for math, science, engineering, or technology
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.7
  • Have access to email and the Internet (home, school, or public library)

What will students do?

During the school year, scholars will complete 8 web-based modules. The modules begin in December and are due every two weeks. Based upon the content of each module Scholars, will provide solutions to real-world questions, design upgrades to be used on the International Space Station (ISS) or design a new Crew Exploration Vehicle,participate in discussion forums on current space-related topics with other Scholars and NASA scientists and engineers, and will hone their technical writing skills. Upon successful completion of the on-line course, scholars who perform well in the course may be selected to attend a week-long Summer Academy at NASA Langley (Hampton, VA), which will include:

  • A team project in which students design a human mission to Mars
  • Tours of NASA Langley facilities
  • Mentoring by NASA engineers, scientists, and technologists
  • Participation in hands-on scientific and engineering activities
  • Briefings and seminars by astronauts, engineers, scientists and other NASA experts.   

School districts may chose to grant a science elective credit towards graduation for students who successfully complete the online program and Summer Academy. This is entirely at the discretion of the individual school district. Scholars who are selected for the week-long academy at NASA Langley are provided transportation, housing, and meals during their stay.


How do I become a Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholar?

Complete the requirements located on the Application Instructions page.

The application deadline is November 1, 2013.   If your application is accepted for the program, you will be notified via email by November 18th and sent log-in information to begin working on the online curriculum. Each of the 8 modules and final project will be graded using the rubrics at the end of each lesson. Scholars are selected for the Summer Academy based on timely completion of all assignments, quality of work, participation in online discussions, and the final grade.


What is the timeline?

  • September 2013: Virginia schools receive information describing the program and guidelines
  • September - October 2013: Interested students complete online application
  • November 1, 2013: Application deadline
  • November 22, 2013: Students notified by email of their acceptance to the program and information on the distance learning course (NOTE THE NEW DATE)
  • December 2013 - May 2014: Students engage in distance learning assignments and on-line discussions to learn more about space exploration, LaRC mentors, and the other participants
  • May 6, 2014: Students are selected for the summer program based on completion of lessons, quality of work, and timeliness.
  • On-site Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center:
  • Week 1: June 21 - June 27, 2014
  • Week 2: July 5 -  July 11, 2014
  • Week 3: July 19 - July 25, 2014

How do I obtain more information?

Visit the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars web site at: http://vasts.spacegrant.org/