Orion

As a community of curious thinkers, we pursue science to serve humanity and the earth that we inhabit. We work to better the lives of our peers, support each other, and collaborate for a common goal. From the biological and life sciences to the quantitative and physical sciences, we are grounded in the stuff of stars. We look to the future and reach for the stars to see just how far we can go. We look towards Orion.

Starting fall 2019, the Curie and Da Vinci LLCs will be renamed Orion and moved to New Residence Hall East!

Orion includes 200 first- to fifth-year students from more than 30 science majors in three colleges: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Science, and College of Natural Resources and Environment. At a large university, we aim to foster a small community where students have a shared learning experience and a sense of belonging. We are committed to retention and diversity in STEM.

Integrating the Curricular and Co-Curricular

Orion first-year students enroll in a First Year Experience course that integrates classroom and community-based learning. Given the wide range of science majors, our courses focus on skills associated with being good practitioners of science: self-directed learning, time management, collaborative problem-solving, professionalism, and interpersonal communication. Our integrated curricular and co-curricular program complements and supplements students’ academic curricula.

Our vision is to challenge, support, and inspire undergraduate science students to strive for academic and professional excellence. We will pursue this vision by giving our students opportunities to actively develop skills that are critical to the development of “T-shaped” professionals – with disciplinary depth as well as strength across the skills that the modern workforce demands. We will accomplish this by:

  • Helping first-year students successfully transition by providing academic support, skill development, and a sense of belonging to a small community within a large university.
  • Providing sophomores, juniors and seniors with opportunities to a) develop leadership and management skills in alignment with employer and graduate school expectations of scientific research and project managers, and b) serve Orion in ways that are integral to enhancing the first year experience.
  • *Academy of Integrated Science
  • Animal and Poultry Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Neuroscience
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Computational and Systems Neuroscience
  • Computational Modeling and Data Analysis
  • Crop and Soil Sciences
  • Dairy Science
  • Environmental Horticulture
  • Environmental Informatics
  • Environmental Resources Management
  • Environmental Science
  • Experimental Neuroscience
  • Exploring Science (undecided)
  • Fish Conservation
  • Food Science Technology
  • Forestry
  • Geosciences
  • Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise
  • Life Sciences Undecided/Exploring Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Microbiology
  • Nanoscience
  • Natural Resource Conservation
  • Natural Resources (undecided)
  • Packaging Systems and Design
  • Psychology
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Sustainable Biomaterials
  • Systems Biology
  • Water: Resources, Policy, and Management
  • Wildlife Conservation

* We accept students in the Academy of Integrated Science program if they are enrolled in one of the majors listed above. More information here https://www.ais.science.vt.edu.

It is important that applicants have a clear understanding that being a part of Orion is more than just living in the same residence hall with other science majors. Students are required to engage in the community in ways that require a time investment. All Orion first-year students are expected to:

  • Enroll in the Successful Starts in Science First Year Experience course series (one course each, fall and spring semesters).
  • Fall semester (COS 1015, 1 cr.): This course provides first-year students with a connection to a network of personal, academic, and professional support, as well as exposure to a wide range of opportunities presented by upper-class peers (e.g., study abroad, undergraduate research, internships, professional networking, and service learning through science outreach).
  • Spring semester (COS 1016, 1 cr.): First-year students develop collaborative teamwork, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills through participation in the Orion citizen science projects, which are managed and implemented by Orion’s student leaders. In the Peer-to-Peer Project model, first-year students collaborate with second- through fifth-year student leaders in different professional roles on citizen science projects designed to reflect the problem-oriented, peer-run, participatory practices of scientists.
  • Participate in community activities that focus on academic and professional development, as well as community-building social and service learning events.
  • Participate in a mentoring program in which first-year students share a sophomore mentor with up to six other first-year students in the community. Mentor groups will meet for one hour each week throughout the fall semester.

Please give these requirements careful consideration before applying to Orion, to ensure that this First Year Experience will be a good match for you. 

  • Gain a valuable perspective on college life through peer mentoring.
  • Enroll in a First Year Experience course series that promotes academic and professional development through curricular and co-curricular integration.
  • Participate in social and professional networking events.
  • Participate in citizen science, service learning, and science outreach.
  • Have the option to enroll in shared sections of General Chemistry.
  • Commit to living and participating within the LLC for one year at a time.
  • First-year students in Orion can apply to return as second-year leaders in the LLC. Student leaders enroll in a Second Year Experience course series focusing on service-based leadership and professional development.
  • Important! Each year of participation in this LLC builds on previous LLC curricular and co-curricular experience. Therefore, participation in this LLC requires entry at the first year level, with applications to continue in the LLC in each subsequent year.
 Curie and Da Vinci LLC Students, Fall 2018
Curie and Da Vinci LLC Students, Fall 2018

For additional information, contact Faculty Director, Dr. Lori Blanc, at lblanc@vt.edu.