By Keith Pierce

Americans watched in excitement as NASA and SpaceX launched astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011 on a historic flight to the International Space Station. To inspire future scientists and engineers to achieve similar feats, Old Dominion University is launching its first global virtual science and engineering program, Remote Experience for Young Engineers and Scientists (REYES). Developed originally with high school and college students in mind, the STEM-based summer enrichment program is open to motivated individuals of all ages and takes place from June 22 to Aug. 13.

"We want students who attend the REYES virtual program to be inspired and see themselves in future STEM roles, so they can be the next generation of problem-solvers, inventors and high-tech entrepreneurs. Thanks to the generosity of ODU faculty and researchers from NASA, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) who are donating their time and expertise, we are able to offer this program to the public, free of charge, aligning with ODU's value of providing an accessible and affordable education," said Giovanna Genard, assistant vice president for strategic communication and marketing at ODU.

"Because of the pandemic, many high school and college students had to cancel their summer learning plans. The REYES program provides students with the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge research and technology directly from some of the leading scientists and engineers in their fields," said Raul Briceño, assistant professor of physics.

Program topics include astrophysics, artificial intelligence, crime-solving using forensic entomology, multiple engineering disciplines, coronavirus simulation with gaming technologies, psychology, Python coding and more. The planning committee also incorporated into the program several activities that provide opportunities for social engagement and career exploration -from trivia and gaming to panel discussions. Participants will have the option to sign-up to attend one lecture or the entire summer program.

Registration is now open. The demand for the program has exceeded expectations. Within one week, more than 1,000 participants have registered. These include Virginia residents as well as individuals outside of the state and abroad. However, because some activities are limited in the size of attendance, "live" access will be granted to those who register first. A recorded session will be shared with those who were unable to join live so that all content is accessible to anyone interested in exploring a rich variety of STEM topics.

Visit to register.

The REYES program was created by a team of volunteers from the College of Sciences, the Office of Strategic Communication & Marketing, Batten College of Engineering and Technology and the Office of Undergraduate Admission. The program's mission is to create a virtual platform to inspire future scientists and engineers to pursue careers in STEM.

The program is co-chaired by Giovanna Genard and Raul Briceño. Members include: Orlando Ayala, Nestor Escobales, Christopher Fleming, Oscar Gonzalez, Carlos Hernandez Garcia, Carol Considine, Alan Meca, Tiffany Whitfield and Maite Wilson.

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