NCI Provides Out-of-this-World Experience for Local Students

Thanks to a partnership between New College Institute (NCI) and James Madison University (JMU), two local students explored the galaxy and the science that allows for travel to space during a weeklong camp at JMU.

During JMU’s Space Explorers Camp, students Brenden Easley and Maria Johnson joined other eighth through tenth-grade students to engage in multiple hands-on experiences in space exploration and discovery.

“Thank you to New College for sending me to space camp. I had so much fun! I made new friends and I went to lots of new places. I went to the Science Space Center, I made a satellite with the 3D printer, and I had the opportunity to work on a spaceship.” said Brenden Easley.

Since campers stayed in the dorms on campus, they had opportunities to observe the night sky and learn about its features. Campers also explored what it means to launch an Earth-observing satellite, visited JMU’s Science on a Sphere Theater, and utilized the John C. Wells Planetarium, which is a $2 million state-of-the-art hybrid facility.

In addition to building and designing their own personal satellite, Maria Johnson said that she enjoyed learning about the mechanics and engineering that go into space travel. She shared, “We were able to talk with employees of NASA and learn about the different types of spaceships and rockets that are used to travel to space. I even learned how to put an engine together.”

Other highlights of the camp included trips to the Udvar-Hazy Center at the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA, and a visit to Richmond to tour the Math-Science Innovation Center and Science Museum of Virginia.