The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Oscar Rivera DeJesus
Oscar DeJesus (second to last on far left) and his friends at NASA Langley camp. Photo Courtesy of Oscar Rivera DeJesus

Student Spends the Summer With NASA

Have you ever thought about pursuing a job for NASA, but you’re not sure where to start? The NASA space program in Langley, Virginia, might be the perfect opportunity for you.

Junior Oscar Rivera DeJesus attended a NASA summer program called Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS). He attended the program for a week where he and nine other students were given the task of creating a NASA mission that would study the lithosphere.

“I was given the role of research scientist. During this time, one main subject was taught to us. Communication is key to a good job,” said Rivera DeJesus.

This experience further persuaded him to continue working toward his goal of aerospace engineering. “Being with NASA was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t mind working there in the future,” he added.

Rivera DeJesus heard about the VESSS program thanks to FCHS science teacher Amy Richardson who gives her students the confidence to take their learning to a higher level and do coursework to achieve college credits that make them eligible for the program at NASA.

Getting into the summer program is fairly challenging. First, you must do an online program during the school year. Of the approximately 400 students who complete the program, only 120 of them are chosen to attend the in-person program.

The VESSS program is an interactive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning experience for juniors and seniors in high school which engages students in NASA’s satellite missions to improve understanding of our own planet’s complex systems through the power of remote sensing.

“I’d say if someone has the dedication to push through the hardships and has a love of anything science or engineering related, [they] should 100% try applying for the program,” said RiveraDeJesus.

NASA offers other summer camp programs. The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program is an interactive online science, technology, and engineering learning experience highlighted by a six-day residential summer academy.

Meanwhile, Virginia Air and Space Center (VASC) has an array of educational programming for grades pre-K through 12 designed to meet Virginia Standards of Learning guidelines and encourage students’ interests in air, space, science and technology. VASC notes that its science education approach promotes “learning through doing,” which helps students to explore the basics of science in a fun and engaging environment outside of the classroom.

If you are interested in joining one of these summer programs to boost your college credits, or are simply interested in a career at NASA, email Richardson for more information at [email protected].

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