Alison F. Manka (Johnson Street Global Studies: STEM makes reaching for the stars a reality
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on October 17, 2012
"It’s not everyday that your students become a part of STEM history, but on Sunday, October 7 a team of 13 Johnson Street Global Studies students from Guilford County Schools (GCS) literally reached for the stars. Thanks to an anonymous donation, our student team, accompanied by parents and other Johnson Street teachers, witnessed the launch of the Space X Dragon commercial spacecraft in Florida on its first official cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. What’s more, students saw their science experiment blast off into space.
Students on the team prepared their experiment, which intends to determine the rate at which food spoils in outer space, at the North Carolina A&T State University / UNC Greensboro Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Specifically, Johnson Street students want to see how gravity affects the growth of bread mold, one of the most prevalent molds on the planet. This research could help determine what passengers eat if public space travel ever becomes a reality. We’re all anxiously awaiting the return of the experiment from the International Space Station in a few weeks, so students can analyze results.
The Johnson Street team was comprised of Evelyn Adriance, Ryan Darden, Zeynab Warraich, Jonathan Mickey, Mary Dumena, Yodit Getahun, Jamarria Haywood, Aya Abdelaziz, Jamie Baxter, Tavin Felton, Ashka Shah, Summer Shoemaker, and Ashley Sowell and was one of 11 student teams from across the country selected for the opportunity through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. I’m so proud of everyone for their hard work and for showing other students and our community how STEM is rewarding and fun!
Two student-designed mission patches also flew to the International Space Station with the experiment and were created by sixth-grader Madeline Cassetty from Northwest Middle and 10th-grader Alexa Sassorossi from Northern High. The patches will be certified as having flown in space and returned for display to Madeline and Alexa’s schools.
Guilford County Schools’ commitment to STEM is exemplified in programs such as this and its leadership in the early / middle college movement across the U.S. We’re very fortunate to have six institutions of higher learning in Guilford County and even luckier that GCS has formed partnerships with these universities and colleges. The STEM Early College at NC A&T State University or the Dudley Early College Academy of Education, Engineering and Health Sciences are two shining examples.
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is a national STEM program undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in partnership with NanoRacks LLC, which works with NASA under a formal Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.
Thanks again to our parents, students and community for making this once in a lifetime trip possible!" -Alison F. Manka.