Monday, January 13, 2014

Former astronaut, Lynchburg native Leland Melvin to speak at Science Festival 2014

Drone races, poetry and photography competitions, and a former astronaut, Lynchburg’s own Leland Melvin, will highlight the 6th annual Randolph College Science Festival.

The Science Festival is an annual series of free, public events that allow the public to discover and celebrate the beauty of science and its connection to many aspects of life. The multi-day event has grown significantly since it first began in 2009.

Leland Melvin
This year, the festival gets off to an early start with a 3.14 mile Pi Run at 6:30 p.m. on March 14 at WildCat Stadium.

The main series of events begins Thursday, March 27, when Melvin will deliver the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Hall Theatre. Melvin is an engineer, educator, and a former two-time space shuttle astronaut who serves as the associate administrator for education for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A graduate of Heritage High School, he also played professional football before joining NASA.

“We are really excited to have Lynchburg native Leland Melvin as our keynote speaker,” said Peter Sheldon, director of the Science Festival. “We are so lucky to have this hometown hero come back to speak on our campus.”

Science Day, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary, is scheduled for March 29. The popular event features an afternoon of activities for students in grades 3-6. Registration for Science Day opens on January 18. The Randolph College Nursery School also will host Science Day for Little Scientists, for children ages 3-7, for the second year.

Science Day provides an afternoon of science-
based activities for students in grades 3-6
Other highlights of the 2014 Science Festival include:
The return of the popular science poetry contest, and a new photography contest, for K-12 students; Entries must be submitted by February 14
A screening of the film Gravity with commentary about its scientific accuracy
The opportunity to race remote-control drones during the Drop-In Science Activities on Sunday, March 30
A regional Cub Scout Pinewood Derby

Visit for a full schedule of events and rules for the poetry and photography competitions.

The Randolph College Science Festival grew from Science Day, which was started by students in 2005. The popularity of Science Day, which routinely fills its registration early, led to the creation of an even bigger festival that would allow Randolph to share the beauty, fun, and relevance of science to all ages. The event has grown to encompass multiple days. It is organized and operated by the Randolph College Society of Physics Students and other student, staff, and faculty volunteers around campus.