Victoria University students completing degrees in science, engineering, sport, teaching, and health will leave this weekend for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to NASA Space School in Houston Texas and Silicon Valley in California.
VU is the first university to offer this opportunity to tertiary students across all Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Students are all part of the VU Academy for Social Change & Leadership and were selected on their academic standing as well as their contributions to the community or VU through volunteer work and leadership roles.
The program is largely funded by VU and corporate sponsors including Optus and Google to ensure VU is sending the most deserving of its students, many who have never been overseas before.
Only days before leaving for the two-week intensive study tour, the group visited Scienceworks’ Museum of the Moon exhibition, an illuminated suspended seven-metre wide sculpture of the moon.
As part of the CASE International Space School, VU participants will receive astronaut training, simulate a mission to Mars, build rockets and have access to exclusive areas in NASA.
Paramedics student Zoe King said the opportunity let her live out a dream.
“I’ve always been interested in space. It’s going to be amazing to simulate how it is in space with zero gravity and play around in the big suits.”
Head of VU Academy, Associate Professor Thinh Nguyen, said the Academy provides experiences and personal development programs that prepare VU students for life.
“The Academy was established to help students develop leadership, entrepreneurship and 21st century skills that will help them in their future careers and their day-to-day lives.”
As part of the trip, students will also visit Google, Tesla, and Stanford University in Silicon Valley California to participate in entrepreneurship and innovation training.
They leave on Sunday 9 December and will return on 22 December.