School Board recognizes Kukk

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

Quinn Kukk, a junior at Cumberland High School, was recognized by the Cumberland School Board at their March 2023 meeting.

Kukk was the district’s attendee at the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program. VASTS is an interactive, online science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning program, highlighted by a seven-day, residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton.

Students selected to participate in the program are immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers and technologists.

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Based on his performance during the Summer of 2022, he was also selected to participate in the Virginia Earth Systems Science Scholars (VESSS) for the 2023-2024 school year. VESSS challenges students to become the next generation of scientists and engineers and to become part of the solution to the societal issues faced by the impacts of climate change. The online course uses real-world investigations of the Earth and its systems, using the latest research and data from NASA.

Kukk said he wanted to apply for these opportunities so that he could visit the Langley Research Center. The discovery of new ways to challenge himself gave him an abundance of motivation to apply for the program this year.

He enjoyed the opportunity to design new ideas for lunar bases and EVA equipment, but most of all, he enjoyed the summer academy at the Langley Research Center. Students were asked to develop a manned mission to mars through a realistic simulation.

“If a person feels like he/she needs a challenge, wants to prepare for college, or seeks to improve intellect in environmental science or aerospace engineering, there is no better program than the ones offered by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium,” Kukk said. “These programs are truly life-changing experiences that grant some of the most important skills of a lifetime.”

To help encourage others to participate, Kukk will be speaking to the 10th grade science classes in the weeks to come. The advice he would offer is to be ready for a challenge and to be ready for a little struggle. The feedback students receive on the labs and reports will help with one’s success.