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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Old Dominion Joins Award-Winning BLAST Program to Promote STEM Education

Old Dominion University has joined the Virginia Space Grant Consortium's Building Leaders for Advancing Science and Technology (BLAST) program, which recently received the 2016 "Programs that Work" award from Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The prestigious award, given by the Virginia Mathematics & Science Coalition, recognizes exemplary science and integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs that increase student or teacher learning.

The BLAST program offers a free, three-day, residential, summer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experience for rising ninth and 10th grade Virginia students.

In June, Old Dominion will join the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech as host campuses for BLAST programs. The ODU program will be held June 26-29 and is being organized by Cindy Tomovic, STEM and professional studies, Darden College of Education; and Vukica Jovanovic, engineering technology, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

BLAST features innovative, hands-on sessions taught by faculty members and staff that allow students to explore the fun and excitement of STEM-related fields while living in a college dormitory.

Since 2013, more than 600 Virginia students have engaged in team-based BLAST activities designed to solve engineering and scientific challenges under the guidance of university faculty and students. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium, in its 26th year, is a coalition of Virginia universities, state agencies, NASA centers and other institutions with a strong interest in STEM education, research and workforce development.

The consortium undertakes a variety of education programs at the pre-college and higher education levels as well as in informal education venues. Its latest "Programs that Work" award is its fourth.